Graduates 'Need Work Experience to Get Jobs' HOW STUDENTS CAN BOOST THEIR EMPLOYMENT CHANCES

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Byline: GARETH EVANS

GRADUATES without work experience will struggle to find jobs this summer despite an increase in vacancies, research suggests.

Three-fifths of employers are warning that graduates who have no previous work experience have little or no chance of getting a job offer, according to a study by High Fliers Research.

Around a third (32%) of this year's graduate vacancies are likely to be filled by applicants who have already worked for their employer as an undergraduate, and in sectors like investment banking and law, this rises to 50%.

The study says: "Many recruiters commented that irrespective of the academic results that a graduate had achieved, it would be very hard for an applicant to demonstrate the skills and competencies that they were looking for if they'd not had any prior work experience."

The report, called The Graduate Market in 2011, analysed graduate vacancies and starting salaries at Britain's 100 leading employers. It found that employers expect to hire 9.4% more graduates this year than they did last year, with three-fifths of firms expecting to recruit more people than in 2010.

But graduate recruitment has yet to recover to 2007 levels, it says. A quarter of entry-level vacancies at the UK's top employers were cut during the recession in 2008 and 2009.

Vacancies at high street banks have risen by a quarter, while there are also more job opportunities at city investment banks and accounting firms.

But recruitment at many public sector firms has been cut, with Teach First, a UK-wide organisation recruiting top graduates to work in challenging schools, the only major public sector employer to increase its intake.

Half of employers questioned for the study said they had received more applications from graduates in the early part of this year's recruitment season than they did last year. …