Employees value students’ work experience activities

Graduates with solid work
experience are more employable than those who have taken gap years or done
voluntary work, a survey of the country’s leading blue-chip recruiters has

Work experience, as part
of a degree course, came top in a list of 10 activities employers look for from
graduate candidates. Part-time or temporary work, and training in key IT
skills, also scored highly. Gap years and voluntary work are the least valued.

The survey, which was
carried out by the Financial Times and the Association of Graduate Recruiters,
asked 90 recruiters in leading blue-chip companies to rate which activities
enhance graduate employability. Respondents were asked to scale activities from
one to four, where one indicates a great deal of importance is attached to the

A structured work
experience placement as part of a degree scored 1.74 on average, and any form
of work experience scored 1.93 on average. Voluntary work scored only 2.77 on
the scale.

Carl Gilleard, chief
executive of the Association of Graduate Recruiters, called for better bridges
to be built between employers and universities.

He said, "The
survey shows employers need to provide high quality work experience, but it
must be structured to allow graduates to reflect on their experience properly.
At the end of the day, employers will benefit."


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