During difficult economic times, firms would do well to invest in graduates, an expert has suggested.

According to Paul Farrer, chairman of pfj, doing so helps to create a loyal workforce, which in turn has benefits in the long-run.

He stated: "Any company with a long-term strategy that actually believes in investing in its business is exactly the sort of company that should invest in graduate schemes when times get tough because then you are going to have very loyal workforce coming."

Mr Farrer added that, traditionally, during times of economic downturn, graduate recruitment suffers as many firms see schemes to recruit university leavers as a cost.

Figures produced recently by the Association of Graduate Recruiters suggested that organisations are predicting the highest increase in graduate vacancies in ten years.

However, 67 per cent of recruiters expressed concerns that they would struggle to fill their positions.