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Female first years less confident about work experience

Female first year students are much less confident than their male peers about landing an internship or a place on a vacation programme, according to a survey of more than 1,500 undergraduates from 70 universities carried out by TARGETjobs.

When TARGETjobs asked first year students how confident they were about landing an internship or a place on a vacation programme, 28% of male respondents said they were either confident or very confident, compared to 18% of females. Meanwhile, 50% of female students said they were either not very confident or not confident at all, compared to 37% of male students.

Female students expect to need to make more applications

The research also revealed that female students expect to have to make more applications in order to secure an internship or place on a work experience programme. Just under a third (32%) of male first years said they thought they would need to make five applications or fewer, compared to just under a quarter (24%) of female first years.

Nevertheless, even though female first years are generally less confident about their prospects of getting a place on an internship or vacation programme, they place even more importance than their male peers on the role work experience will play in helping them into permanent graduate employment.

Chris Phillips, research director at TARGETjobs, observed, ‘Work experience has never had a higher profile on campus so it’s sad that women’s expectations of success appear to be lower than men’s.’ He added that the results were only part of the findings from the new TARGETjobs survey of the career aims of first year undergraduates and would be of interest to the growing number of graduate recruiters targeting students at this early stage in their studies.

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