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Recruitment sites are the first point of call for 70% of graduate job-hunters

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Employers are wasting money on traditional paper-based recruitment methods as graduates move online to find careers.

According to GradFutures, 92% of graduates believe searching for jobs online is more effective than browsing through newspaper adverts and this is reflected in job-hunting habits.

Despite these findings, the latest data from the Association of Graduate Recruiters (AGR) shows employers each spent on average £15,000 in 2009 on paper-based ads - the same amount as was spent on online promotions. And this wastage is set to continue, as graduate recruiters expect the spend on each of these channels to remain static in 2010.

Online sites are by far the most popular destination for graduate job hunters - 70% head to recruitment websites as their first port of call, while only 3% turn to print media.

During their job hunt, the median proportion of graduates' time spent online is 80%, as opposed to just 20% spent offline.

When job hunting, more than two-thirds (67%) of graduates barely or never look at advertisements printed in national newspapers, regional or local newspapers (68%), or industry magazines (70%); while more than three quarters (76%) barely or never look at ads in student newspapers.

In comparison, nearly eight in 10 graduates (78%) regularly use dedicated graduate recruitment websites in their search for career opportunities, while nearly nine out of 10 (88%) go to employers' own websites, and just over half (56%) say they use general job websites.

The AGR figures also show that more than a quarter (27%) of graduate recruiters do not plan to use online jobs marketing channels at all this year. Less than half that amount (13%) of the same companies plan to avoid print advertising.

The vast majority (92%) of graduates regularly use social networking sites but less than a fifth (17%) use such channels to help them find a job, according to the GradFutures.com study.

Only 3% of graduates will seek out a recruitment consultant as the first port of call and nearly three quarters (72%) barely or never use a consultant at all when actively seeking a job.

The majority (58%) don't feel recruitment consultants are useful for graduates, as they focus on experience rather than education.

Ian Sprackling, CEO at GradFutures.com, said: "Graduates now make a beeline for recruitment websites and largely ignore printed media to find a job, which means there is a huge opportunity for recruiters to increase engagement by aligning marketing spend with the activity of their target audience."