Page last updated at 09:41 GMT, Tuesday, 26 May 2009 10:41 UK

Young face 'tough job prospects'

Ronnie Mooney: People don't want to hear from you because you're inexperienced

Nearly half of all firms will not be looking to hire graduates or school-leavers in the months ahead, according to a survey.

The Chartered Institute of Personnel and Development (CIPD) found that only one in five companies planned to hire 16-year-olds due to leave school.

And a third of firms said they had cut their graduate employees in 2009.

Some 45% said they did not aim to recruit from either group this year, underlining the extent of the slowdown.

"Against this backdrop, graduates and school leavers need to sharpen their case for being picked ahead of their classmates - and fast," said Gerwyn Davies, the CIPD's public policy advisor.

Unemployment in the UK rose above two million for the first time since 1997 in the three months to January, adding 165,000 to 2.03 million.

Young people, who often have little or no work experience, have been particularly hard hit by the recession as employers seek to cut costs.

'Most vulnerable'

"The harsh reality is that it is no longer enough to start thinking about jobs once exams are over," said Ruth Elwood, head of recruitment at accountancy group KPMG, which helped compile the study.

Take advice
Broaden your horizons to related professions
Consider paid or unpaid work experience
Do not be too proud to use contacts to get a first break
Do not be too proud to take a job you think may be beneath you
Be imaginative
Consider setting up your own business
Source: Higher Education Careers Services

"Those who do not already have a place for September are unlikely to find one now, or not in their first choice profession," she added.

Separately, research from the Prince's Trust and Cass Business School warned that young people in deprived areas would be hardest hit by the recession.

More than 450,000 people under 25-years-old in the UK claim jobseeker's allowance. In the past year the numbers of those claiming such benefits have increased by 80%, at an expense of £23m to the state, the report said.

"Britain's most vulnerable youngsters will be permanently damaged by the downturn, unless they receive the support they need," said Martina Milburn, chief executive of the Prince's Trust.

Many economists now predict the number of jobless individuals will tip above three million in 2010.

The CIPD survey looked at 500 firms.

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