Essential Graduate Recruitment Trends For Summer 2016

Posted by Kate Smedley on 9 Jun 2016

Investment banking is enjoying something of a popularity surge with the FT reporting that Goldman Sachs has attracted over 250,000 applications from students and graduates. JP Morgan and Citigroup also reflect this trend.

After attracting a bad press and losing prospective talent to fintech companies in recent times, the FT article suggests this is in part due to the sector’s pro-active response to criticism. Banks are collectively working together to overturn a culture of gender bias and long working hours by following the example of Google and other tech brands. Notably, the CEOs of both JP Morgan and Goldman Sachs are ranked in the top 25 CEOs in Glassdoor’s 2016 Employees’ Choice Awards, a list which was topped by the CEO of Metro Bank.

Where does that leave other employers with ongoing concerns about the employability of graduates and their ability to attract the right candidates?

Understanding current trends may partly provide the answer to that question. We've identified the following:-

Graduate mobility

The Graduate Market Trends report for Spring 2016 reveals a number of graduate job search habits, including:-

  • Graduates who return to their home town after completing their degrees are more likely to be employed in non-graduate roles such as retail or secretarial jobs, within six months. These so-called Regional Returners are predominantly based in the East of England.
  • 12% of graduates stay close to their University to find work. Approximately one in five of these work in Yorkshire and Humberside which was this week reported as the region with the biggest growth in high skilled jobs by the Natwest.
  • Nearly half of graduates (45%) work and study in their home region.
  • Just under one in five graduates (18%) are willing to travel to find employment and nearly half of these find jobs in London (44%).
  • Graduates from more affluent backgrounds are more likely to move to secure the right opportunity and also work in finance and technology.

The figures suggest that social mobility among graduates is still limited, identifying yet again the need for comprehensive careers advice for young people, coupled with ongoing liaison between Universities and UK businesses.

Gender bias

Oxford University and the Sutton Trust found that at the age of 13 girls are expressing significantly more interest in pursuing further education than boys. This echoes a further study which shows young women aged 18 are 35% more likely to apply to University than young men – if this trend continues, it is projected to reach 75% for girls born in 2016.

When it comes to hiring, however, the traditional gender bias appears to resume, with female graduates facing a reported pay gap of £8,000, a trend which is slow to change.

Problematic interviews

One of the biggest obstacles to attracting and hiring talented graduates lies in the interview process which may also shed some light on the issues of the gender pay gap. It is harder for young women overall to apply to jobs and they are less likely to receive positive (or any) feedback according to the City & Guilds Group and Business In The Community. Nearly a third don’t receive feedback at all, compared to 18% of young men.  It is also worth noting that 40% of young people not in training, education or employment received no feedback.

Falling salaries

While some sectors are forced to offer high salaries to compete for graduate talent, the overall trend is marginally downwards. Advertised average pay for entry level jobs in June was £23,309 according to Adzuna’s Job Market Report, the lowest since October 2013. It also revealed a fall in graduate vacancies.

Effective hiring strategies

Awareness of trends helps to shape effective graduate recruitment strategies. For employers keen to hire top graduate talent quickly who may not attract the volume of applicants seen in the banking sector, here’s our advice:-

Adopt Google's approach to hiring : This includes a positive stance towards work/life balance, plenty of on the job perks and a data driven approach to HR. Our previous article provides a more detailed breakdown of what makes Google so successful in hiring and retaining employees.

Introduce gamification : Whatever your company’s aims for graduate recruitment, gamification helps to reduce your time to hire, quickly identifies potential high achievers in your pipeline and engages young talent.

Invest in young people : Don’t rely on new hires to arrive equipped with the digital and soft skills your business needs. Be prepared to support and train all of your new hires, while nurturing your graduate talent to improve retention levels. For businesses that incorporate apprenticeships, these should offer real on the job training and value for young people.

Pay attention to your candidate experience : Attempting to submit a job application to your own company is the only way to understand how effective your hiring process is. Which aspects are time consuming or frustrating? Make it easier for graduates to apply and provide constructive feedback to every candidate you interview.

Invest in technology : Sophisticated HR technology enables you to open up your hiring process, remove your graduate filter and minimise bias. Look beyond gender and University education to understand what a great candidate looks like for your organisation. Taking advantage of HR technology to inform future hiring trends within your business will also enable HR to predict and plan for future vacancies, rather than simply react.

Whatever sector your business is in, support your graduate hiring strategy with recruitment software used by some of the world’s leading organisations.

Contact Advorto today to start your free trial.

You might also like to read:-

Does AI Mean The End Of Graduate Recruitment?

UK Employers Must Invest In Young People Or Face A Permanent Skills Crisis

For a more in-depth exploration of the banking and finance sector, download our Sector Focus here.

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Topics: graduate recruitment

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