Graduate job opportunities are to be increased by new links between university and business authorities.
Small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) are to be promoted in campuses to highlight careers outside traditional large graduate recruiters.
The initiative is being run by Universities Scotland, the Scottish Chambers of Commerce, the Federation of Small Businesses Scotland and student organisations following a recommendation from a university survey, Taking Pride in the Job.
The survey found that SMEs, companies that employ less than 250 staff, account for more than half of private sector employment in Scotland but graduate recruitment remains relatively low with them.
The bodies are looking to encourage more paid work placements during terms and promoting university career services from students’ first year of study.
Youth employment minister Angela Constance MSP said: “Graduates often suffer from the same difficulties as school leavers and young people finishing college courses. As they often lack hands-on work experience, they are not always the first choice for employers, particularly in times of economic difficulty.”
Universities Scotland’s convener Professor Pete Downes said: “Small businesses are the lifeblood of Scotland’s economy and to continue to thrive they will need to refresh their talent with highly-skilled university graduates.”