Since the Brexit vote last year there has been much discussion on what impact the vote may have on the recruitment and retention of talented graduates. In the Graduate Market Report 2017, published by Highfliers, it was found that the UK’s top employers were set to increase their graduate recruitment by 4.3%.
However, this increase was not shared in every sector. The accounting & professional services sector is expected to drop 8.4%, investment banking 3.2% and the banking & finance sector 2.5% – equating to 514 fewer graduate roles.
Where have the jobs gone?
The IT & telecoms sector, which has already seen more than a 100% increase in its number of graduate vacancies, is expected to increase by a further 5.5% in 2017.
Of this trend Melissa North of Sopra Banking Software says “we always need to build for the future and we want to grow our talent within our business. This is a key part of our strategy, not only via the recruitment of 5/6 graduates each year but by also increasing our investment in apprenticeships.”
Paid work experience
Despite the increase in full-time graduate vacancies, there is expected to be a 4.3% decrease in the number of paid work experience roles at the UK’s tops firms. However, this is not the case with all sectors. The IT & telecoms sector is expected to buck the downward trend and see a 28% increase in the number of paid work experiences and apprenticeships.
“We need to plan for the future so we will continue with our efforts to work with schools and higher education providers to help improve the employability and skills for the future UK workforce. This will include an increase in our offer of apprenticeships programmes”, said Melissa. Many companies also use graduate, or soon to be graduate, paid work experience schemes as a way of securing talent early and developing a recruitment pipeline, as reported in the National Centre for Universities and Business Report 2016.
Sopra Banking Software also holds this belief in developing talent. Melissa says “these recruits have a thirst for knowledge and want the opportunity to develop quickly, perhaps by experiencing different parts of our business. Our career framework allows employees to do this, developing their skills and competencies across a wide range of job families, if this is what they are looking for, otherwise developing their knowledge to become an expert in a particular job family.”
Although it’s not just companies who benefit from an increased number of paid work experience vacancies. With many companies now assessing graduates through their prior work history, securing experience in a company, prior to graduating, has become the best way of standing out in the highly competitive graduate recruitment market crowd.
It’s not just the number of vacancies that have increased in the IT & telecoms sector, the number of applications for graduate roles have increased 20%. Meaning not only are there more jobs, but even more graduates looking to take them. So, where do companies find and attract the best talent? “We are trying all different ways to find the best talent but we also need to develop our employer brand further and sell what a great company this is to work for, so that the best talent seeks us out and want to work for us”, says Melissa.
“A great way of doing this is by working with local schools and higher education providers and building relationships with students at an early stage.”
On average, the top accounting & professional services firms in the UK target 31 universities for talent, compared to just 17 of the UK’s largest IT & telecoms firms.
With Brexit negotiations and discussions around free movement in their infancy, we are unlikely to see massive changes to the graduate recruitment market in the immediate future. However, with a 4.3% increase in jobs advertised, this would suggest the UK’s top firms are looking towards graduates to potentially fill vacancies in the years to come.
We can also see from the statistics provided by the Graduate Market Report 2017 that IT & telecom firms are starting to attract larger numbers of graduates, while the financial sectors have reduced the number of vacancies offered and have seen only marginal increases or even drops in their numbers of applications received.
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