A key finding within the report reveals 85% of respondents who secured one or more work placement opportunities – including a year in industry or internship – while at university found employment as a chemical engineer within six months of graduating.
This figure fell to 68% for those without work experience, who were also four times more likely to have never secured employment as a chemical engineer.
However, the research finds work experience opportunities are more accessible to those from higher income families, with more than half of all student work placements found by students or their family members using “an existing network of influencers”, the IChemE said.
The Institution said it was working alongside the Social Mobility Foundation (SMF) to tackle this issue, by supporting its One +1 campaign – which encourages members to offer ‘plus 1’ work experience to students without connections.
Co-author of the report, Wendy Wilson, said: “We all knew how important it was for students to get work experience prior to graduation. However, this study has reinforced this belief, as well as showing that work experience helps to minimise the influence of socio-economic factors when seeking employment.”
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