From education to employment

Graduate recruitment programmes need to keep pace with student career aspirations

Traditional 18-month graduate recruitment programmes favoured by large employers are in need of modernisation to stay relevant post-pandemic, according to a new study.

Highered, the online talent platform for EFMD, surveyed 1,099 business school students in March 2022 about their career aspirations. While a majority (82%) are interested in graduate programmes, over a third (37%) relayed that they were becoming outdated and obsolete.

The main reasons cited are not being relevant for career growth (29%), wanting more meaning and purpose in a career (24%), levels of pay (20%) and the programmes being too long (20%).

Dr. Amber Wigmore Alvarez, Chief Talent Officer at Highered comments: “While there is no doubt that recruitment programmes at large organisations are still popular with graduates, the pandemic has had a notable impact on graduates’ career aspirations. A corporate job is no longer the automatic route and there is a clear desire around some for forging a very personalized career path such as launching or joining a start-up.”

In the study, nearly three quarters (73%) said they would consider joining a start-up. The top six reasons are opportunities for learning (67%), being more innovative (53%), early responsibility and autonomy (48%), more opportunities (46%), positive and diverse culture (41%) and more open to flexible/remote working (40%).

Conversely, the advantages of a corporate recruitment programme were seen as opportunities for growth (77%), opportunities for learning (62%), more opportunities in the organisation (56%), prestige of the graduate programme (53%), employer branding (48%) and remuneration (42%).

An overwhelming majority (87%) viewed customised graduate programmes where the locations and functions undertaken during the programme could be chosen as more relevant and attractive. Across the whole study the majority (80%) relayed that they were attracted by remote working opportunities.

Dr. Amber Wigmore Alvarez concludes: “The global jobs outlook is dominated by The Great Reshuffle – vacancies are high and it is definitely a job seekers market. Graduates are looking for flexibility around working patterns and tangible opportunities for learning and personal growth. The pandemic has shown that there are alternative ways of working and graduate recruitment programmes need to consider how they can adapt to attract the best global talent.”

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