Over a decade ago, internships/placements where simply a means for students to experience the type of work as well as responsibilities that would typically be entailed within a particular role/industry and then, self-assess how well they were suited to it.
Nowadays, with experience highly desirable in the backdrop of a very competitive and turbulent job market, internship/placement scheme(s) completion has become an essential consideration in the recruitment process for new graduates. Especially, by leading graduate employers – with many of them viewing a recently graduated candidate with internship/placement experience as being a more competent and less risky choice for their respective organisation.
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.
Theknowledgeacademy.com found that with 401 more places this year (2018 = 1,077) compared to last year (2017 = 676), the public sector has facilitated the highest increase (59.3%) in work experience opportunities for undergraduates.
Focusing specifically on law, work experience positions available in well-known and established firms within the sector have seen a 11.2% decrease – with 157 less spots this year (1,250) than in 2017 (1,407).
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).
Furthermore, 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.
Joseph Scott, a spokesperson from Theknowledgeacademy.com commented: “In the current job climate, academic achievements 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 provides students with an indication of how limited as well as competitive work experience opportunities can be in a range of highly desirable industries.”