Businesses are missing out on a huge pool of graduate talent and should view the different routes they take to the labour force in an equal light, research has revealed.
The Hidden Graduate Pool is wide-reaching research into graduates who did not start a permanent career job or graduate training scheme immediately after leaving university.
The Association of Graduate Recruiters (AGR) surveyed more than 10,000 students and nearly 400 organisations, including university careers services, employers, marketing and recruitment agencies.
It found that more than half (53%) of these graduates incorrectly believed that places on graduate training schemes were only open to them immediately after graduating.
Carl Gilleard, chief executive of the AGR, said: "This research indicates that many recruiters need to broaden their methods so not to miss out on this significant and skilled group of graduates.
"Particularly worrying is the fact that most of the students and graduates surveyed are misinformed about when they can apply to start a graduate training scheme.
"With growing levels of student debt and legislation aimed at eliminating age discrimination in the workplace, recruiters need to up their game to access this more diverse pool, recognising that many have gained transferable skills from their different workplace experiences," he added.