Two thirds of those graduating from leading UK universities this summer believe there are not enough suitable jobs for them, a survey suggests.
Interviews with 16,113 students at 30 institutions did find a slight increase this year in those expecting to enter a graduate-level job, at 36%.
But the figure was well down on the peak of 49% recorded in the similar UK Graduate Careers Survey in 1998.
A quarter of the students were hoping to do postgraduate research.
More applied for jobs in investment banking than any other field, though teaching, media and marketing opportunities were also popular. Confident
The survey, involving face-to-face interviews in February and March, was carried out by High Fliers Research.
It said the number of final-year students expecting to enter the graduate job market this year had increased slightly from last year, but remained "very low".
The survey results show 21% were confident of starting a full-time graduate position, and a further 15% expected to be looking for work - so 36% in total.
This compared with a total 35% in 2004, 39% in 2002, 42% in 2000, and 49% in 1998.
When it came to their perceptions of the job market, 63% agreed "there are some graduate jobs, but not enough for everyone leaving university this summer".
A fifth said there were only limited jobs available and 17% that there were "plenty".
Job-hunters expected to earn an average of �19,800 for their first job, 4% more than in 2004.
London was still the preferred employment destination for a third of the graduates.
Almost everyone had used their university careers services, which were rated excellent or good by three quarters.
The 30 institutions involved:
Belfast Queens University
Dublin Trinity College
London Imperial College
London School of Economics
London University College
York BBC News