The finding, based on an online survey of 422 graduates, published yesterday evening, also found 20% of recent graduates have been looking for a job for over a year, with 31% declaring they would take any job that came along.
Almost half (47%) of those that would consider working in the public sector stated they had been put off applying for jobs due to news of further cuts, leading to a potential gap in the graduate talent pipeline in the public sector.
Confidence continues to decrease amongst graduate jobseekers, with 82% believing they are in a tougher jobs market compared with two years ago - during the worst of the recession. But the research also found that one quarter (24%) spend less than an hour on applying for a job, while nearly half (49%) spend only 1-2 hours on a single application.
Finally, as confidence is low, wage expectation amongst those questioned is also in decline, as over half believed that at the start of their course, they would earn £20,000 per year or above in their first graduate role. Now, of those still studying, only 45% believe they will earn £20,000 per year or above, while the majority (55%) believe they will get less than £19,000 as an annual salary.
Mike Fetters, graduate director at totaljobs.com said: "We all know that the graduate market is tough at the moment with further public sector job cuts looming, but it's surprising to see so few would choose to work in the public sector.
"Only a few years ago, the public sector was a top graduate job destination and despite the cuts, there are still positions available, all of which provide good training, career progression and despite reports, a wide range of employee benefits. With this in mind, it's really important for graduates to at least dip their toe in and look into this diverse sector and the opportunities it has to offer.
"Graduates should be reassured that work is out there for those who are willing, but it is important that they spend time on each application. Graduates must be extra vigilant to ensure that each application is tailored to the employer they are applying to as well as being absolutely sure it is free from errors to allow themselves the best possible chance of securing an interview."