Does UK recruitment need to refresh its value offering to university leavers?
That will be the question being asked in light of a new study by recruitment technology firm Tempo, who commissioned an Opinium study into satisfaction levels among graduate recruits.
In their poll of one thousand recent graduates, Opinium found broad dissatisfaction with the way university leavers are handled by recruiters and employers.
More than half (53 per cent) said that the benefits of current graduate programmes are overemphasised.
29 per cent said that they had actively avoided such schemes when entering the workforce.
It will be sobering news for any employer that ploughed money into skills acquisition this academic year. But what can be done to respond before the next catchment enters the jobs market in approximately nine months time?
To understand what motivates a new generation of workers, we need to engage with the reasons why graduate recruitment programmes are so underwhelming at present.
Dissatisfaction with graduate recruitment schemes provides deep insight
While current programmes may be falling short of expectation, the follow-up data which is gleaned from the study could prove helpful. And, in many instances, the reasons provided are often quite positive.
Take, for example, the number one reason for avoiding graduate hiring schemes. 64 per cent of candidates said that they wanted to move into new sectors. By choosing an industry unrelated to their area of study, they were making themselves ineligible for existing programmes.
Now, on face value, this may require the question “so what was the point in getting a degree?”
But this is to ignore the incredibly diverse cross-pollination of skills in today’s workplace. Tech placements are in high demand across all professions. Business and management competencies are prized in teaching, and in healthcare. Unconventional routes into work are increasingly commonplace. And, it seems, university graduates are embracing that change.
More than half (51 per cent) of those surveyed said that they found alternative routes into work. 43 per cent wanted to develop a broader cache of skills than was being offered in existing graduate programmes.
A further 41 per cent said that the level of direct industry and professional experience being offered in said schemes was below their expectations.
Greater emphasis on self-development
Throughout the findings, there was a distinct emphasis placed on self-development and personal skills acquisition. For employers and recruiters with diminishing talent pools for their pipelines, this will be a welcome development.
But where do today’s graduates get this level of motivation?
It would seem that, for many, the freedom of gaining specialist skills is what keeps them keen to learn.
More than a third of uni grads said that flexible working was a key lifestyle requirement. The belief that existing graduate recruitment models are geared to more conventional working routines has seen their popularity fall.
And what is the long-term perfect working scenario? For a quarter (25 per cent) of Britain’s graduates, it’s to be their own boss.
Recently, we saw how Japan’s graduate recruitment experience is being rejected by a new generation of young professionals. The Opinium data would suggest we are witnessing a similar cultural shift in the UK, too.