More than half (52%) of companies did not fill all of their graduate vacancies last year, a poll by the Association of Graduate Recruiters (AGR) found.
While one in five job offers were turned down by students in 2016, a worrying 7.1% were reneged by university leavers in 2016.
Of the 13,156 jobs offered by the 79 employers AGR polled - some of whom are among the biggest employers of uni leavers in the UK - 5% remained unfilled at the end of the year.
AGR chief executive Stephen Isherwood said: “We are still seeing employers struggling to fill their graduate jobs every year. While the market for talent remains competitive, the trend towards students backing out of their agreements continues to make matters worse.”
While the number of students backing out of jobs is down from 8.2% in 2015, it is still a concern for banking, accountancy and engineering firms where the chances of reneging are highest.
“Employers are getting a handle on the situation by keeping regular contact with candidates and inviting them to meet with their peers,” Isherwood added.
“But students need to adopt a more responsible and respectful approach. Hold on and wait for your offers to come in and give employers notice if you plan to renege.”