The key barriers to entry to the notoriously difficult UX employment arena that I found were:
1) Commercial experience
No matter how much you've read, or studied, very very few organisations will even give you an interview if you don't have any DEMONSTRABLE commercial experience in an HCI-related field. I have a directly relevant MSc (in HCI) and PhD yet neither were sufficient to get me an interview - despite having 15 years experience in more technical fields (networking and system engineering). Getting commercial experience is of paramount importance imo, whether that is voluntary, or an internship, or whatever it takes to get in the door and to start building a portfolio.
This almost goes hand in hand with the commercial experience. There's no point in having that commercial experience if you can't demonstrate it to a potential employer, so that's where a porfolio comes in. I have a portfolio from my MSc, but because it's an academic portfolio and not a 'real world' portfolio it had much lesser value in the market. Employers want to see how your problem solve, the apps you use, what projects you've worked on...so that they aren't buying in someone blindly.
3) Network, network, network!
Get hooked into the UPA and other organisations in your area. Make friends on LinkedIn and milk that network to get your foot in the door (internship, maybe even a sponsored MSc??).
I had a frankly horrific time getting my foot in the door - something that I was genuinely surprised about (given that in previous lives people have loved me lots!!). The current economic climate certainly isn't helping, but if you've got the experience and a portfolio to back it up it makes life significantly easier.
Hope this helps - best of luck