Research from the National Citizen Service (NCS) youth programme found that 76 per cent of employers look for extra-curricular activities when assessing CVs. This compares to 75 per cent who look for qualifications and exam results.
Other skills are also important, the study found, including team-working skills (78 per cent), and being able to mix with different people from different backgrounds (79 per cent).
The study of 500 medium-sized employers took place in January and also found that a majority of employers are impressed by volunteering activities, and half are looking for confidence in job candidates.
The NCS is a government initiative which offers 16 and 17-year-olds in England the chance to build skills during a three-week residential programme.
More than 26,000 young people took part in the NCS in 2012 and fees are capped at £50 with bursaries available for disadvantaged students.
The survey findings come as the NCS is running a pilot “Champion Schools” programme.
These schools build the NCS into their year 11 or 12 timetable, and encourage every student to take part. Schools in the pilot can also contribute to the design and content of elements of the programme to tailor it to their specific needs.
For more information, visit www.ncsyes.co.uk/teachers