The suspicion by graduates that their degrees alone are not enough to get them a job in the gruelling graduate recruitment process has been given credence by a new report by graduate market research company High Fliers.

The report – which surveyed a range of recruitment experts including HR operatives in the UK’s largest graduate employers – showed that those most likely to get ahead in the recruitment process are people with work experience and demonstrable professional skills.

Nearly two-thirds of the recruiters warned that candidates with no work experience had ‘little or no chance’ of gaining employment at their organisations.

Commenting on the report, Liz Sayce, from the UK Commission for Employment and Skills, said the results put hard fact behind what had long been expected.

“There’s no doubt that qualifications are important, but they can only take you so far,” she said. “Employers are looking for candidates who can demonstrate good social skills, excellent written and verbal communication, willingness to learn, as well as teamwork and management skills.”

She added that this was not just relevant to graduates just starting out on their careers, either: “It doesn’t matter what level you’re at, or what sort of job you want – you ignore these so-called ’employability’ skills at your peril.”

Geoff Newman, chief executive of online recruitment company Recruitment Genius believes it is only going to become harder for graduates.

“Many graduates who do not take a vocational qualification don’t have sufficient skills compared to those who left education and immediately got a job. Indeed we are noticing many employers recruit apprentices who are generally are more cost-effective and easy to train.”

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