This month’s CIPD People Management has a great read on Graduate Recruitment, the title 189 245 Graduates – 19 732 vacancies. What’s the point of graduate recruitment?

Consider the headlines,
  • 420 000 joined universities and colleges in 2016, a number that has grown over the last decade without the needed counterpart of graduate level jobs.
  • 52% of graduate jobs were not filled (CEB)
  • Adzuna’s research suggest that degree level employment provides a £12 000 increase on non-degree level employment. Can we afford it?
With an over-supply of educated and indebted talent how do organisations ensure that Talent Strategies meet employer requirements? I have pulled together some thoughts to get the discussion started.

A problem of our own creation?

Now the first point is probably an obvious one. We have too many graduates studying the wrong degrees and therefore lacking what employers need, hence 52% unfilled roles. Annoying I know. Let's table a new thought – it is agreed the graduate labour market has shifted in numbers and skills; however how many organisations have truly updated their graduate employment practices to access the skills available rather than looking for the magic bullet?

Be Disruptive – The Milkround-Era is Over

The Times Top 100 list PwC, Aldi, Google, Teach First and the Civil Service as the top 5 graduate companies to work for; employers outside of this list need to make an assumption that top graduate employers are offering attractive packages and a highly competitive process that screen for the best of the best, what the CEB referred to as a vicious circle.

Knowing that the labour market is more competitive, more volatile and importantly more confusing for graduates – do you need to review what you expect of a graduate level role? Can you train and develop the right personality rather than expect results day 1?

Know their value

Misaligned requirements, ambitious expectations and stagnant pay are key variables in a candidate driven market. Someone always has deeper pockets but many businesses fail to recognise this when approaching the graduate market. Just because a graduate is typically early in career does not mean they have not considered their value in the workplace – unless you are certain your brand engagement is strong enough, you must consider the hygiene and motivator factors (Thank you Herzberg!) and develop a strong Employee Value Proposition for the graduate market.

Process over practice

Does your process overlook talent because you are competing for the same as everyone else? A graduate is often early in career without the necessary experience to go straight into an established position; what they do provide is energy, willingness to learn and a new perspective – are you focusing on this? Or on what they know already?
Competency screening should be common practice; this coupled with practical challenges and case studies can allow for a deep dive into any candidate – often identifying skills a CV and interview will miss.

Apprenticeships - start to think outside the box

Employers need to recognise that the image of both has shifted. Apprenticeships are now available to all, and are not the “easy option” by any means. The Apprenticeship Levy in 2017 will see another variable in the mix. The Daily Mail (fact checked I promise) stated this week that “if young people struggle to find meaningful work, it can be detrimental”. . . . it could be argued not finding work is detrimental at any stage in your career.
 
Taking these points into consideration a conclusion could be drawn that employers are key in changing the employment market of early in career individuals that may lack the necessary skills to hit the ground running (52% room for improvement in fact!). Rather than focus on establishments and politics, industry could lead the change quick and more effectively. Thoughts?

Innov8 HR Partner and Innov8 Talent Management Team focus on providing insights for in-house talent strategies and offer a FREE diagnostic for employers considering a step-change.
 
Reach out to Adam Phillips – adam@hunterwolff.com for more information