Claims that the graduate recruitment 'milk round' could lead to discrimination claims under pending age discrimination legislation have been dismissed by experts.
Last week the Association of Technology Staffing Companies (ATSCo) warned employers that visiting universities to cherry-pick students might leave recruiters open to claims of indirect discrimination.
ATSCo cited figures from the Higher Education Statistics Agency, which showed that only 13.2 per cent of undergraduate qualifiers in 2003 were aged 40 and over.
The association said this could lead to increases in the cost of recruitment and a shortage of appropriate candidates for graduate positions.
However, Alison Hodgson, chairwoman of the Association of Graduate Recruiters, said that the age discrimination laws, scheduled for 2006, would not have a big impact on graduate recruitment.
"Ultimately, as long as [graduate recruiters] are including and embracing older people as well as young, they will not be in breach of regulations or the spirit of the legislation," she said.
Keith Dugdale, head of graduate recruitment at KPMG, said the claims were a red herring and that companies should use the legislation in a positive way to promote themselves as examples of good practice.