Almost 2 in 5 'entry-level' jobs require 2.5 years of experience

Misleadingly, many ‘entry-level’ jobs actually require lots of work experience. With almost 10 million Brits job hunting at any moment, those with access to well-placed connections or the funds to work unpaid internships have the edge.

To find out how common it is for entry-level jobs to ask for professional experience, careers experts, StandOut CV, analysed 17,815 job adverts for 43 popular entry-level jobs, using LinkedIn’s job board ‘entry-level’ filtering, across various industries to find out which jobs are the hardest to break into – and where Brits should look to get a foot on the ladder.

Key findings:

  • On average, 37 per cent of ‘entry-level jobs’ required prior working experience.

  • When stated, the average length of experience requested for an entry-level role was 2.5 years.

  • The careers where prior experience was mentioned the most in entry-level listings were IT technicians (62.8 per cent) and junior software engineers (60 per cent).

  • The entry-level jobs most likely to not ask for prior experience were teaching assistants (1.6 per cent), social workers (3.8 per cent) and licensed practical nurses (3.96 per cent).

  • When the number of years of desired experience was specified in entry-level job adverts, waiters and administrative assistants were requested to have had five years of experience (the most in the study).

Which careers expect the most prior experience?

Compiling a list of more than 40 of the UK’s most popular and best-paid entry-level job types, the study found that overall 37 per cent of entry-level job listings asked for prior experience.

Although one in five (21 per cent) entry-level jobs didn’t specify exactly how much experience they desired, when they did, ‘entry-level’ jobs expected on average around 2.5 years of prior experience.

The job title most likely to ask for prior job experience was IT technician (62.8 per cent). Entry-level jobs for this role advertised a minimum salary of £25,956, considerably below the study’s average of £31,063, and lower than the latest Government figures showing the UK average full-time salary sits at £34,963.

Three in five (60 per cent) junior software engineer entry-level jobs asked for prior experience. When specified, this averaged at one year of prior experience. In this case, internships to gain this experience might be worth the investment, as minimum entry-level salaries were an appealing £43,733.

Completing the top three, the next job advert most likely to ask for prior experience is for baristas (58.8 per cent). Adverts specified on average two years of experience with a minimum salary of £26,425.

Despite having a salary far below the average minimum in the study, waiters and waitresses were expected to have had on average five years of relevant experience for entry-level jobs advertised on Linkedin.

Also asking for around five years of experience is the role of administrative assistant. Related careers in administration and tech also ask for a considerable amount of prior experience – with executive assistants and product manager roles also asking for four years.

Which entry-level jobs were truly ‘entry-level’?

Only 1.6 per cent of entry-level teaching assistant jobs asked for prior professional experience – easily the lowest amount in the study. Although a rewarding career with high job satisfaction, the minimum starting salary for a teaching assistant is £23,926 – 30 per cent below the average starting salary in the study.

Another public service job, social worker, was the next job that most commonly had genuine entry-level job listings – with just 3.8 per cent specifying prior experience.

The position of licensed practical nurse came third with 4 per cent of job listings asking for previous professional experience. This role is an entry-level nursing job where you work under the supervision of a registered practical nurse or doctor. Unlike for a job as a registered practical nurse, you only need to complete a year-long course.

By Mark Adair – Correspondent, Bdaily

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