The first students to pay higher university tuition fees will graduate into the UK’s most attractive job market for a decade, a study says.
The High Fliers study of the graduate market in 2015 predicts recruitment will be at its highest for a decade.
The key to securing a top role is undertaking work placements at the firm in question, the study suggests.
A third of jobs are expected to be offered to graduates who have managed to do this, it adds.
More than four-fifths of the UK’s leading graduate recruiters are now offering paid work-experience programmes for students and recent graduates, with an unprecedented 13,049 available this year.
Two-thirds have paid internships during the holidays for final-year students, while half make industrial placements available as part of degree courses.
And an increasing number of firms now have placements for first-year undergraduates.
Those with no work experience are unlikely to be successful applicants and have “little or no chance” of receiving a job offer through graduate programmes, half of the recruiters said.
Overall the UK’s leading employers plan to expand graduate recruitment even further in 2015, with 8% more vacancies predicted than last year.
This follows a similarly-sized rise in 2014 and represents the third consecutive annual increase.
Students leaving university this summer will find a buoyant graduate job market, said Martin Birchall, managing director of High Fliers Research.
The UK’s top employers would also be providing “more than 13,000 paid internships, vacation work or course-based placements in 2015”, he added.
Universities minister Greg Clark said: “Confidence in the economy continues to grow, and this is reflected in the fact that Britain’s top companies will recruit more graduates this year than they have for a decade.
“This report will be warmly welcomed by the record number of students who started university this year and highlights how a degree remains one of the best routes into a rewarding career.”