Only 43 per cent of engineering graduates believe their university course provides them with the skills they need for work.

More than 7,000 engineering students from 40 UK universities were questioned as part of trendence’s 2012 Graduate Barometer research, with key findings also showing that 57 per cent are willing to relocate worldwide upon graduating to find work.

According to a statement, the research studied a total of 25,000 students across all disciplines and found that, although 70 per cent of engineering students think it will be tough to find a good job this year, their optimism levels are higher than UK students generally at 75 per cent against 66 per cent.

A total of 41 per cent of engineering students are willing to work for nothing to get a good internship, with findings also showing they are most likely to be influenced by those close to them when it comes to career choices.

Mariana Rajic, senior marketing manager at trendence, said: ‘The findings paint an interesting picture of what future engineering talent is thinking and feeling when it comes to their career prospects.

‘Although they are positive about their futures, it is worrying that such a significant proportion of students do not feel well equipped to enter the labour market.

‘Couple this with their willingness to relocate out of the UK to find work and the message is clear — we must ensure we do not lose our engineering talent, either to other countries or because of a perceived lack of work skills.’

Despite a push by many companies to make recruitment sites mobile enabled, those from engineering are least likely to use mobile devices to identify and apply for jobs.

They are also unlikely to use social media to find out about a prospective employer, with only 25 per cent saying they do this compared with 39 per cent in IT, 29 per cent in law and an overall figure from UK students of 35 per cent.

Other findings show that, on average, engineering students expect to work 44 hours a week and want to earn £23,000 in their first role — less than their counterparts in IT and law.