By Daniel Hunter

Graduates are less optimistic about their job prospects that market research suggests, according to graduate jobs forum WikiJob.

The study found that graduates expect to have to apply for at least 20 graduate schemes before getting a job offer.

WikiJob's survey of more than 1,000 of its users, who are all graduate job-seekers, and discovered that 45% of them believe that they will need to submit applications for at least twenty graduate schemes before they receive a job offer.

A previous survey by LinkedIn in 2014 found that the average graduate had to apply to 12 roles before landing their first job.

That pessimism about their job prospects contrasts sharply with recent research from High Fliers, which found that the 100 leading employers in the UK plan to increase their graduate vacancies by 8.1% in 2015. The same report suggested that the average starting salary for graduates would reach £30,000 this year — a new record.

WikiJob’s survey found that only 20% of graduates believe they will have to apply to five or fewer graduate schemes before securing work, despite the rise in vacancies offered in the market. According to research from The Marketers’ Forum, the average graduate only stays in their first role for 18 months — and 20% leave within 6 months.

James Rice, Head of Digital Marketing at WikiJob, said: “These findings surprised us a little. It seems that despite the buoyancy of the graduate recruitment market at present, graduates themselves are feeling that the competition for placements is tougher than ever.”