Despite their wide-ranging ambitions, few employers are very satisfied with what they achieve from the work placements they provide, the IRS study shows.
The research found that most organisations rated their level of success at meeting their own goals at not much more than two (41%) or three (43%) out of five.
But the survey, which included 71 organisations, also found that just 13 formally evaluated their work experience schemes.
The study reveals that most employers (74%) would be prepared to offer more placements to students if there was more support from the government or education system.
Although many said they would like cash subsidies for hosting placements, employers most commonly wanted students to be better prepared for the realities of work.
Many organisations also wanted improved guidance on how to organise work experience for students, and greater support during the placements.
Few, however, appeared to be aware of the help they could already receive from the National Council for Work Experience.