Increase in graduate vacancies at the UK's best known and most popular employers but intake remains below pre-recession levels

The UK's best known and most popular employers are hiring more graduates than at any point in the last five years, according to new figures released by High Fliers Research.

There has been a 4.6% rise in the number of graduate opportunities at Britain's top 100 employers since last year. However, there remains an average of 46 applicants per position.

In June, the Higher Education Statistics Agency estimated a tenth of students in Britain were still searching for jobs six months on from graduating in 2012.

The recent study shows the increase in opportunities for graduates is greater than predicted. At the start of 2013, the 100 leading employers expected graduate vacancies to rise by 2.7%.

The organisations were highlighted as those that provide the best career opportunities in a survey of 18,000 final year students at 30 universities.

The report, The Graduate Market in 2013, said intake remains below the figure recorded before the recession in 2007 despite the rise in graduate vacancies at the UK's top employers.

Recruitment fell by 17.8% between 2008 and 2009 before increasing in 2010. There was another dip in 2012 followed by a significant climb this year.

"It's great news for the Class of 2013," said Martin Birchall of High Fliers.

Mr Birchall delivered more good news to graduates, with many of Britain's best-known employers set to create even more vacancies in 2014.

Almost half of the 100 organisations intended to retain their recruitment policy next year, with 18 expecting to take on more graduates. Thirteen predicted a drop in vacancies and 21 did not yet have any firm plans.

More than 16% of companies planned to work towards social mobility goals for graduate recruitment.

The report indicates many employers have finished their recruitment for this year after taking on graduates through work experience programmes.

Copyright Press Association 2013