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Employers place premium on work experience as graduate vacancies rise

Leading graduate employers expect to offer 8.7 per cent more jobs in 2014 than last year – the biggest increase in four years.

But employers warn that a record 37 per cent of vacancies will be snapped up by students who have gained work experience, paid internships or industrial placements – and will therefore not be available to the rest of graduates among the “class of 2014”.

Almost all of 100 of the UK’s best-known employers surveyed by High Fliers Research are now offering paid work experience placements for students or recent graduates, and over half said it was not very likely a graduate without experience would be offered a job.

High Fliers found that the biggest growth in graduate vacancies this year is in the public sector, accounting and professional services, retail, investment banks, engineering and industrial companies -- where collectively an additional 1,200 positions are expected.

Median pay levels for newly recruited graduates, however, will be stuck for an unprecedented fifth consecutive year at around £29,000, with over half of employers planning to make no increase in salaries.

Get the full picture from HEi-know: Briefing Report 121