Most employers give greater weight to work experience than professional qualifications when selecting candidates to fill IT posts.
Seventy-two out of 100 HR managers interviewed by market research company Vanson Bourne said that relevant experience in an IT department provided greater proof that candidates were capable than professional qualifications.
"The primary goal for us is finding good candidates who are typically interesting because they have good work experience rather than good qualifications," said Steve Edkins, one of the managers who took part in the survey.
The companies surveyed also said that many applicants lacked the basic business skills needed to perform the IT jobs they were applying for. Eighty-three respondents said that applicants needed additional training in communications skills, management and general business awareness before they could be brought up to the required standard.
Edkins, who is chief operating officer at software supplier DST International, recruits between 12 and 15 computer sciences graduates every year.
The company provides its new recruits with on-the-job training because they lack an understanding of the business needs that drive DST's financial services customers.
Edkins said, "Most of our activity is aimed at the financial market, so we try to give them an awareness of that market. We are only developing software for an end-user somewhere that addresses one of their business problems."
Although the HR managers thought that graduates lacked business skills, they accepted that there were limits to what the universities could teach.
Edkins said, "It is a bit difficult for the universities because they are trying to teach people the relevant technical skills first and foremost."
The survey also revealed that 30 of the HR managers who took part kept their IT departments out of the recruitment process altogether.
Vanson Bourne was commissioned to conduct the survey by IT services company FDM.