Reasons to Keep Hiring Graduates During the Recession 

Amberjack helps future focused organisations bridge the gap between today and tomorrow.

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Are you looking for a competitive advantage and find yourself wondering what the most effective recruitment strategies to future proof your business throughout a recession? 

Here at Amberjack, we believe there has never been a better time to hire graduates. With the UK (and most of the world) facing one of the harshest recessions in memory, and as we move past the recent Great Resignation, the benefits of growing your own talent are keenly felt.  

During the pandemic, the Institute of Student Employers shared that in past recessions, companies who reduced their student recruitment experienced a negative hit on their reputation as a Graduate employer, resulting in further loss of profits as they needed to invest in attraction costs. Furthermore, these same companies also experienced skills gaps when later in the recovery cycle, they lacked experienced people to promote internally. 

Motivation  

One of the number one benefits of hiring graduates is the level of motivation they bring with them into the organisations they join. 

Graduates can be among some of your most enthusiastic and ambitious candidates. They have been studying for years to get ahead and put themselves in a good position in the job market. They are likely to want to prove themselves and bring as much as they can to your workforce. 

Choosing a university and degree subject, often before even turning 18, and carrying it on for at least three years, sometimes four or five, is difficult. Graduates are committed to their careers and are able to bring healthy work ethic to your teams, perhaps even encouraging your existing workforce with new energy. 

The amount of time these candidates have spent in education has helped them develop a habit for learning. They are predisposed to continual growth, and so can be a huge asset. The idea that ‘growing your own’ talent can be beneficial for businesses is definitely accurate. You can help create the experts that work for you. 

Finally, research suggests that graduate cohorts are often some of the most engaged employees and harnessing that motivation can prove to be extremely beneficial. 

Productivity 

Recruiting graduates has a positive impact on productivity. The government paper, ‘The relationship between graduates and economic growth across countries’, found that human capital (the value someone brings to society, influenced by skills, education, and health) positively correlates with productivity. 

In just one example, Barro and Lee (2010) looked at educational attainment from 1950 to 2010 for 146 countries, and provided evidence of a significant effect of education on output.  

Mason et al. (2012) also explored qualifications gained through vocational education and training as well as those gained through academic study and found that vocational skills also made positive contributions to growth in productivity. So, this is an argument not only for hiring grads, but also for hiring apprentices and other early talent through student recruitment.

Perspective

Similarly, another reason why companies hire fresh graduates is because of the new perspective and outlook they bring with them.  

Having new eyes on old projects can enhance them with new methods and opinions. Graduates have spent years expanding and growing their critical thinking skills, spending time with a wide variety of people from across the nation, and often across the world. When you hire a graduate, you don’t just hire a young person, but you introduce someone into your business with a plethora of experiences and insights. 

They are more likely to notice inefficiencies and small issues that existing employees miss having been in employment for a while and can ultimately help make your organisation more effective and fruitful. 

As an important part of modern business, it’s also necessary to acknowledge how the fresh Early Talent perspective can benefit your sustainability strategies and ED&I goals, something which Gen Z and the upcoming Gen A, are hugely passionate about. 

Building a Workforce for the Future 

The workforce is perpetually changing and evolving. Building a workforce for the future is critical to contingency planning and ensuring continued success.  

With a current lack of STEM skills and knowledge prevalent in the candidate market, perhaps building the talent you require from the bottom up is something to consider! 

The ISE’s 2022 Student Recruitment Survey has revealed that graduate employers are generally quite satisfied with the talent they hire. 36% of employers indicate that they are ‘almost always’ able to find the quality of graduates that they require, with a further 52% ‘often’ able to recruit the quality of graduates they want. In a similar vein, for school and college leavers, 20% of organisations report being ‘almost always’ able to recruit the talent they need, with 55% being ‘often’ able to achieve the same. 

Transferable Skills  

If you’re looking for a candidate with presentation skills, the ability to influence team members and argue their thoughts, someone who can get their point across well but also listen and reflect on feedback, then graduate recruitment (such as offering a graduate scheme) is an ideal route for your business. 

At university, students undertake a wide variety of tasks and assessments. From presentations and essays, to debates and reports, and even physical projects, exams, and portfolios, the selection of things students are asked to do over the course of their degree can be extremely varied. 

These tasks may require them to work alone, work as a team, or even lead on a project. This means that when they enter the workforce, they are armed with a host of transferrable skills that can be applied across business areas, making them a healthy addition to any team. 

In the same way, the native social media, tech, and online skills possessed by today’s graduates can make them an excellent candidate for your vacancies over even experienced professionals with a history in the industry.  

Why? Well, these applicants are comfortable in the online world and take quickly to new programmes. They’re skilled multi-taskers, good at juggling conversation, work, and online interaction all at the same time. They know what they’re looking for and how to work through something unfamiliar to improve their understanding even when they aren’t familiar with something straight away – they’ve grown up doing just that. 

Return on Investment 

Admittedly, taking time to teach industry new joiners the ropes and provide them with training can be very time-consuming. However, graduates can fast become valuable assets to your team. 

Not only are they fast learners due to the aforementioned ingrained habit of learning but helping and allowing a graduate to flourish under your guidance is a great way to lower attrition rates. ISE data reveals that 72% of graduates stay with employers after 3 years, and an employer retains 57% of its intake after five years. The average length of stay in the first job is just under 4.5 years.   

There is more long-term yield associated with hiring graduates. There is potential to keep them on for a significant portion of their career, unlike many experienced hires who will be searching for the next best thing, having had a taste of the industry. 

Affordability  

This goes without saying but hiring an individual at the beginning of their career comes with a lower cost than hiring someone many years into theirs. Though of course, it is important to raise salaries over the years so that your new joiners stay on, especially if you’re trying to achieve the retention rates mentioned above. 

The entry-level salary that comes with entry-level roles is a benefit of recruiting applicants fresh out of education. Not only do you benefit from the learned expertise and enthusiasm of your new hires, but you do so for less than you would an experienced hire. 

With the significant impact of the recession, becoming harder to obtain the budget for experienced hires and much-needed expansion, hiring graduates and other early talent could be an alternative route which can help your business thrive in such a restrictive market.  

Early Talent in Your Business 

Hiring graduates is an important decision to be made for any organisation. 

Growing your own talent can kickstart a whole new level of growth and expansion for all the reasons discussed above. 

While experienced hires are required across areas to help lead the charge and offer their unique insight, it’s time to start considering investing in graduate schemes and offering your vacancies to entry-level workers, and what this can do for you. 

The ISE 2022 Student Recruitment Survey shows that recruitment figures for school and college leavers have grown by 18% in the last year alone – there is sustained growth in this market and with graduate hiring too. Jumping on this trend and embracing early talent in your organisation could be a key method to ensure growth for your business. 

To discover how Amberjack can help you attract early talent, assess and manage candidates, and more, you can contact us or visit our resource hub below! 

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