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CIPD and KPMG predict few job opportunities for this year's school leavers and graduates

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Nearly half of UK companies (45%) do not plan to recruit school leavers or graduates this year.

According to the CIPD/KPMG Labour Market Outlook, only 17% of employers plan to recruit 16-year olds leaving school in the next three months and a third are considering taking on 18-year-old school leavers. This paints a bleaker picture than research in February from the Association of Graduate Recruiters.

Less than half plan to take on graduates and a third have already cut the number of graduates they will take on.

In the private sector 45% of employers are not planning to take on young people and 54% in the voluntary sector agree.

Gerwyn Davies, public policy adviser at the CIPD, said: "This is a tough jobs market, but our research shows employers are still on the lookout for the brightest and the best."

And Sarah Shillingford, graduate recruitment partner at Deloitte, said: "Too much anxiety about jobs prospects and debt can be damaging to students' future prospects. We must help graduates avoid the ‘career paralysis' trap that is often triggered when fear sets in and inaction takes over.

"Our intake hasn't changed significantly in the last few years. On 1 July our application process will open for 2010. We have vacancies for around 1,000 graduates to join Deloitte. Successful applicants may also have the chance to work on some of the UK's most exciting projects such as supporting the delivery of the London 2012 Games."