JOB prospects for Scottish graduates are the best they have been since the impact of the recession, according to new figures.

More than half (51%) of the top graduate recruitment firms in Scotland say they are looking to take on staff. It is a 3% increase on last year and 45% higher than in the immediate aftermath of the 2008 banking crisis.

The improvement mirrors a positive trend in graduate recruitment across the UK. Scotland has outperformed Wales, where 44% of graduate employers have entry-level jobs, and Northern Ireland, where the figure is just 29%. Most regions of England seeing more jobs available.

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A spokesman for market research firm High Fliers Research, which carried out the study, said: "Overall, Scotland is back to the level of recruiting we saw in 2008.

"The jobs market has recovered extremely well and we can see that pattern across all major sectors who are recruiting in strong numbers."

Alastair Sim, director of Universities Scotland, which represents university principals, also welcomed the figures. He said: "I'm delighted to see an increase in the number of graduate vacancies in Scotland for this year. This confirms what we regularly hear from employers - that they value the knowledge and attitude of Scotland's graduates and the value they will add to their business.

"Graduates have not been entirely immune from the recession, but they have shown resilience with a high number going straight into employment or other positive destinations."

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