Work experience for undergraduates has become highly desirable in the backdrop of a very competitive and turbulent job market. Securing a place on an internship/placement scheme(s) has become an essential consideration in the recruitment process
for new graduates today.
Interested in the importance of gaining professional experience, Theknowledgeacademy.com analysed findings from ‘High Fliers’, to see whether the number of available paid work experience places (i.e. vacation internships/course year placements) among the UK’s 100 most established and successful employers has increased or decreased in 2018.
found that the public sector has facilitated the highest increase (59.3%) in work experience for undergraduates, with 401 more places this year (2018 = 1,077) compared to last year (2017 = 676). Thereafter, the engineering and industrial industry has created the next biggest rise (21.4%) – with 426 more positions available in 2018 (2,419) than 2017 (1,993). The third highest fall in work experience for undergraduates was the legal minefield of law – where there 157 less places this year (1,250) than in 2017 (1,407).
With finance such a prominent industry for students to target, banking and finance has the most substantial decrease (8.9%) in work experience for undergraduates this year. Investment banking (7.2%) has the next biggest decrease in work experience positions and then, is followed by accounting
and professional services (3.9%).
On the other end of the scale, with 55 less openings in 2018 (155) compared to 2017 (210), the lucrative field of consulting has seen the most significant decrease (45.2%) in work experience options for undergraduates. Just slightly above, information technology and telecommunications has seen the next most notable fall (20.1%) in work experience places this year (548) in contrast to 2017 (686).
The Challenges of Internships/Placements for the UK’s Leading Employers
The research also highlighted the main challenges the 100 employers face when recruiting university students for internships and placements. 36% want to increase in the quality of students they hire for placements. Interestingly, 13% are intending to attract more applications for their future internships/placements. Contrastingly, 4% want to reduce the number of applications for their internships/placements.
Joseph Scott, a spokesperson from Theknowledgeacademy.com commented:
“In the current job climate, academic achievements, professional qualifications, or reputation of attended educational institutions alone cannot propel a graduate’s prospects. Whilst students are in the early years of university, they are recommended to experience much relevant work experience as possible. Internships and placements provide students the perfect avenues to do just that. The practical knowledge and transferable skills gained from them can really boost their employability credentials upon graduation. This research gives us an indication of how limited and competitive work experience for undergraduates can be, in a range of highly desirable industries."
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