Work Experience Students Taking a Third of Graduate Jobs


Graduates are to face more competition from work experience students in 2012, as the latest report on the graduate jobs market shows those who have previously worked with an employer are taking a third of vacancies. 

The report also highlights that more than half of employers are unlikely to consider a candidate without work experience regardless of their qualification.

VP Academic Affairs Sasha Watson responded to the findings by telling the Wessex Scene “SUSU and the University knows it needs to ensure it provides students with something that will make them stand out even more to employers; whilst not perfect, there is already the Graduate Passport scheme, an increasing number of term time and summer jobs at SUSU and the University, as well as the increasing number of Southampton Excel internships with external companies.

But by no means do I think, looking forward, that is enough.”

I would like to say I’m shocked to read it – but I’m not. I’m just disappointed that it’s actually true.

Sasha Watson
VP Academic Affairs

The Graduate Market in 2012 report, undertaken by High Fliers Research, shows just how prominently work experience is ranked by employers, such as that undertaken in holidays, or as internships.

The research suggests that although there are 6% more graduate opportunities than in 2011, record numbers of university leavers together with previous students still looking for jobs will mean finding employment is harder than ever.

It notes that among investment banks, three-quarters of of graduate jobs are taken by applicants who have previously spent time at the company.

Mr Watson explained “I am working with the University to really push the number of internships it makes available to students, both externally and internally – but we do need to appreciate that it’s actually quite difficult to set up these opportunities.

“My aim is to make the University target offering close to every student an opportunity to gain relevant work experience by 2015, and I will looking into how we can make that a reality in the coming months.”

Despite the overall rise in job opportunities, managing director of High Fliers Research Martin Birchall said that the figures show a “stark warning to the Class of 2012 that in a highly competitive graduate job market, new graduates who’ve not had any work experience at all during their time at university have little hope of landing a well-paid job with a leading employer”.



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