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The Demise of Graduate Recruitment? Here's Why It's A Myth

Posted by Kate Smedley on 25 Jan 2017

Reports of the demise of graduate recruitment appear to be somewhat exaggerated. 2017 is expected to see even more competition for outstanding graduate talent.

A new report from High Fliers, The Graduate Market In 2017, found that graduate vacancies are expected to rise by 4.3% this year. Among the sectors planning to increase their graduate intake are retail, the public sector, and engineering. Public sector, high street and online retailers plan to collectively recruit 1,200 extra graduates. Less than 1 in 10 companies (8%) intend to reduce their graduate intake, despite concerns over the number of graduates in the UK jobs market.  The median starting salary for graduates in 2017 is estimated to be £30,000, rising to £47,000 in the investment banking sector.

Leading organisations have increased their graduate recruitment by 13% in the past three years, making the competition for talent fiercer than ever. However, with 5.4% of graduate vacancies from last year still unfilled, graduate employers must take steps now to create a robust recruitment strategy.

Three strategies for rapid improvement

Create a dedicated brand message : Allowing your graduate recruits to tell the story of why they chose to work with your company promotes your employer brand most effectively. EY reportedly increased the quality and quantity of their graduate applications by 11%[1] by introducing specific changes to their process. These included short videos (no longer than 30 seconds) and the launch of a dedicated graduate recruitment site and blog. Social media was also instrumental in attracting more applicants, including Facebook, Instagram and Twitter.

Simplify your process with technology : Another essential change EY made was to simplify its application process to capture basic data rather than ask applicants to spend two to three hours completing online forms. Advorto’s recruitment software enables your business to follow EY's example with our ‘registration of interest’  function which encourages talent to apply by providing their essential contact details.

Make it fun : Gamification and specialist apps such as Debut (used by brands including Microsoft, Barclays and Rolls Royce) engage graduate talent in your pipeline. Debut was designed in collaboration with employers to meet the need to identify specific skill sets and includes gamification as parts of its assessment. 

Mixed messages

Dispelling the myth of the demise of graduate recruitment doesn’t mean the debate over ‘graduate employability’ has disappeared. The issue of effective education remains.  

For example, the engineering sector is facing a shortfall of 182,000 people per year between now and 2022 but only 5% of University applications relate to an engineering discipline and it is struggling to attract female students. More liaison is needed to encourage young people into STEM subjects to address the predicted talent shortage in key sectors and reduce the number of graduates employed in non-graduate jobs.

GCHQ’s CyberFirst

Some organisations are dropped their mandatory requirement for University degrees in order to address the skills shortage. GCHQ is targeting schoolgirls in an effort to attract ‘more female spies’ with its CyberFirst Girls Competition to meet expected future demand. This is a key component of the government’s National Cyber Security Strategy launched in November 2016. Only 10% of the current global cyber workforce is currently female.

Equal opportunities 

With graduate recruitment on the rise, employers must also work to overcome perceptions of bias in the recruitment process. Only 20% of students starting University believe they will be able to secure their ideal job, with job security their priority in selecting prospective employers, according to a study from EY. Adopting a policy of screening anonymised CVs through your applicant tracking software is the first step towards reducing bias in your hiring process.  

Unpopular apprenticeships

Apprenticeships are yet to provide a consistent talent source to address the shortfall left by empty graduate jobs. The imminent arrival of the Apprenticeship Levy has been criticised by organisations including the CIPD, which has also highlighted concern over the Department for Education’s recent challenge to the public sector to recruit an additional 200,000 apprentices by 2020. While ambitious, it fails to consider cuts to budgets and also the resources needed to attract, hire and manage new apprentices. 

2017 will see an increase in competition for graduate talent. Support your hiring process with world class software to recruit better people faster. Contact Advorto today.

You might also like to read:-

3 Ways To Bridge The Graduate Tech Talent Gap

Improve Your Graduate Recruitment Success In 2017

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[1] Source :

Topics: graduate recruitment

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