Is A Bigger Salary The Only Way To Retain Graduate Talent?

Posted by Kate Smedley on 23 Mar 2016

Attracting and retaining the best available graduate talent will become more problematic for employers as the skills gap widens in sectors such as tech and engineering. The Association of Graduate Recruiters (AGR) has found that just under 10% of graduates leave within a year of completing their initial training programme. Over 90% of employers lose graduate talent to a competitor offering a higher salary. 

Deloitte’s Millennial Trends Survey supports AGR’s findings by citing pay as the main driver for graduate talent leaving their jobs. Since 2008, young people have experienced a bigger drop in earnings than other employees, which may explain in part the lure of a higher salary.  At the same time, UK businesses determined to attract the cream of the graduate crop are paying more than 30% above current market rates to graduates in IT and finance. The majority of these recruits are from non-British Universities as companies struggle to recruit qualified candidates.

For businesses with limited budgets, the good news is that there are more factors at play than salary but these require robust policies which support the aspirations of graduate recruits. Unmet career expectations were also identified by AGR as a reason for a change of employer, and Deloitte found that 44% of millennials believe they will resign from their current position within the next two years.

Implementing effective strategies to provide graduates with ongoing support and manage expectations will boost retention rates. These include the  following:-

Develop an internship programme

Graduates who began their career with your company as an intern are likely to stay longer than those who didn't, emphasising the value of a 'work experience' programme. The majority of employers are reluctant to give interns meaningful or high priority work but greater accountability and trust increases motivation and engagement levels. Nominate a mentor or supervisor to offer advice and regularly review progress. Graduates are more likely to apply for a position with an employer they already know if their internship provided a positive learning experience and evidence of a collaborative culture. 

Provide full post training support

Less than half of employers offer training to their staff on how to effectively manage graduates in the workplace. The importance of setting (and meeting)  expectations to prevent the loss of key skills is vital as employers fight over a shrinking graduate talent pool.

Understand their motivators

Millennials arrive in the workforce with a different set of expectations. Deloitte’s survey highlights the need for flexible working hours, a clear career development path and an employer who prioritises purpose over profit to retain young talent. A culture of transparency and leadership development are also sought after employer values.

‘Check-in’ on a regular basis

Don’t hang your newly trained graduate out to dry. Follow the example of companies like Accenture who carry out regular check-ins to ensure engagement, offer - and ask for - feedback, and identify unhappy or struggling employees. 

Carry out an exit interview

Identifying the reasons for early graduate departures will enable HR to restructure programmes and improve future retention levels. Exit interviews should include questions which cover the effectiveness of your training programme and expectations around career progression. Incorporate relevant data into your recruitment software to improve future talent acquisition and retention success.

Support your hiring process with HR technology

Talent acquisition strategies for young people are broken, with poor candidate experiences deterring applicants from applying to jobs. Sophisticated HR software will automate the mundane elements of your hiring process, fast-track tagged applicants through your recruitment funnel, identify the source of your most effective hires and the point at which talent is falling out of your pipeline.

Advorto's world-class software is the easiest way to manage your entire graduate recruitment process. Contact us today to find out more.

You might also like to read:-

Will Graduate Recruitment Be Obsolete By 2041?

Recruiting Tech Talent : A UK Sector Analysis For 2016

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Topics: graduate recruitment

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