Brexit : What's Next For Graduate Recruitment?

Posted by Kate Smedley on 6 Jul 2016

Prior to the outcome of the EU referendum, a Path Motion Survey suggested that 49% of top graduate employers expected to reduce their intake if the UK voted to leave. Following the Brexit vote, what’s next for graduate recruitment?

The graduate recruitment market, like the majority of UK hiring, is facing a ‘wait and see’ period as a clear Brexit strategy has yet to be formulated. A recent survey from the Higher Education Statistics Agency (HESA) suggests that graduate employment is at a record high. Although published on 30th June, these figures relate to 2014/15 so the impact of Brexit on current employment levels will take time to filter through.

In the meantime, the Path Motion Survey suggested that sectors at risk of reduced graduate recruitment included finance, retail and some technology companies. Sectors such as education and engineering were expected to be unaffected. Post Brexit, HSBC announced it no longer plans to remove 1,000 jobs from the UK and Barclays has abandoned its pre-referendum crisis plans, indicating a more positive outcome.

In developing effective graduate recruitment strategies during this transition period and beyond, UK businesses should be aware of the following:-

STEM skills shortages : If restrictions on freedom of movement are put in place, the onus will be on employers and Universities to ensure graduates are equipped with relevant skills to meet business requirements. For example, the level of unemployment among computer science graduates currently stands at 11.7%. At the same time, STEM jobs as a whole are suffering from a talent shortage, which is exacerbated by new figures which found that only 12.8% of jobs in the sector are held by women. Issues of culture and retention need to be resolved by employers to address this imbalance.

Graduates looking overseas? Global jobsite Indeed reported a spike in young people looking for jobs overseas immediately following the Brexit vote. Dublin, Canada and Berlin were named as the most searched for locations. To attract top graduate talent HR must work on employer brand, on-the-job training, career development and retention strategies to prevent a potential loss of skills.

The soft skills gap : CIPD Chief Executive Peter Cheese recently called for business schools and employers to work more closely together to tackle the UK's soft skills gap. In particular, he highlighted the problem of high levels of graduates leaving University unprepared for the realities of the modern working environment. ‘Basic employability skills’ were emphasised, coupled with the need for UK employers and Universities to ‘create learning experiences for students that equip them for the changing world’. A restriction on freedom of movement may force employers to invest more extensively in their workforce and specifically on the development of soft skills.

A shrinking talent pool : Path Motion’s survey found that 95% of employers regard access to the EU graduate talent pool as vital to their business. Faced with a smaller candidate pool, over half would apply for a work permit in order to continue hiring EU graduates with skills essential to their business, while 25% stated they planned to recruit higher numbers of UK graduates.

Resolving the pay gap : The HESA survey identified an increasing gender pay gap among graduates, which may be partly influenced by the lack of female candidates for STEM jobs. As the tech sector relies heavily on European talent, this is an issue which needs to be resolved quickly. Again, liaison with Universities and educational institutions is required, with the emphasis on additional technical training and strategies to overcoming cultural issues. Hiring strategies which remove bias through the use of anonymised CVs will help businesses to develop a more extensive and diverse talent pool to attract the right graduate talent. Data driven recruitment is the key to achieving this.

Don’t be caught out by the impact of Brexit. Streamline your graduate recruitment process with HR technology used by some of the world’s leading organisations. Contact Advorto today to start your 30 day free trial.  

You might also like to read:-

Brexit : What Does It Mean For HR?

Essential Graduate Recruitment Trends For 2016

The soft skills shortage poses a real threat to UK employers. Our whitepaper, The UK Soft Skills Shortage, examines the issues in more detail. Download your copy here.

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Topics: graduate recruitment

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