By Marcus Leach

The annual Real Prospects: Higher Education report asked 22,000 graduates about the careers advice they received at university, sparking a request for more information about opportunities with small to medium sized enterprises (SMEs) as they felt there was too much emphasis on the needs of students applying to blue-chip recruiters.

“The research shows that graduates would have liked more information on SME and niche sector careers when they were students," Mike Hill, chief executive at Graduate Prospects said.

"This could be due to realisation when leaving university that many of the positions available aren’t on big graduate training schemes.

“There is some perception that university careers services tend to focus on traditional graduate occupations and the big recruiters. The reality is that a huge amount of work is done at a local and regional level to link with smaller organisations both in terms of jobs and also internships. Students need to be realistic about their careers and recognise that the majority of them won’t be recruited by the blue-chips.

“But, while many smaller companies provide diverse and rewarding careers for graduates, they often don’t know how to best approach universities or have the resource to spend marketing themselves to enable them to compete effectively against larger businesses."

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