Nine in 10 (89%) recruiters said they considered relevant work experience an important part of a CV and 13% said they would not interview a candidate without relevant work experience.
The survey of 412 UK employers by the Learning and Skills Council also showed that young people were likely to earn £1,050 a year more – the equivalent of £87 a month – if they have gained relevant work experience while at college or school.
Phil Hope MP, skills minister for the Department of Education and Skills, said employers needed to do more to promote work experience opportunities.
“By offering work experience to young people we will help create the skilled workforce of tomorrow. Work experience is essential in linking education and employment.
“We need employers to be working increasingly closely with schools and colleges – by offering apprenticeships, work-based learning and work experience for those in learning,” he said.
One in five UK employers (22%) would not recruit a 16- to 19-year-old with limited qualifications or fewer than five GCSEs, and one-third of businesses (32%) would invest significantly more time and money in new recruits with at least five GCSEs, the survey found.