Graduates are facing fewer job vacancies and lower pay amid a slowdown on the employment front, according to a new report.
Jobs site Adzuna said there was an 8% fall in graduate jobs in April compared with the same month a year ago, down to 12,850.
Average entry-level advertised salaries reached a 30-month low of £23,309, a study found.
Cambridge and Oxford were the best cities for graduate jobs, while general vacancies were also said to be strong in Guildford, Reading, Exeter and Winchester.
The worst places for jobseekers were said to be Sunderland, Hull, Middlesbrough and Belfast, with around three candidates per vacancy.
Doug Monro, co-founder of Adzuna, said: "In university libraries across the UK, students are filling in the job forms and crossing their fingers, but they might need more than luck this summer. Graduate vacancies are falling and new joiners are facing one of the toughest job markets in recent times.
"Many graduates may feel like it's a rough deal right now. Graduate pay has fallen drastically from 2013 levels, and talks of rising tuition fee hikes next year will only add to this feeling.
"Unfortunately, fewer roles does inevitably mean more competition to find a first job, but graduates may have the upper hand in the long term. Many of these schemes contain a long-term investment in development and fast-tracking to managerial positions."