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Do employers expect more of entry-level employees than ever before?

The world of work has never been so competitive. For employers, this means investing in corporate branding, improving interview techniques and being present on platforms and job seeking sites. For prospective employees, however, the battle for the entry-level role is much fiercer.

It is a common gripe among graduates that for any entry-level role, they would need years of experience to qualify. Moreover, once they are there, they attest that more is expected of them than ever before. But how true is this assertion? A recent article by Fast Company examined the claim and considered possible reasons behind the increasingly demanding job specs.

Is entry-level still entry level?

While older generations love to lambast millennials for their supposedly lazy and ever-texting ways, millennials are right in thinking that employers expect more. It is not a consequence of alleged “snowflake” behaviour, but rather that young people today are graduating into an increasingly competitive world with limited job security and an ever rising cost of living. Not to mention, there are more graduates than ever before.

However, there are a plethora of other possible reasons behind this trend. One – albeit rather cynical – view is that, in the age of data, performance can be measured and understood more easily and accurately. This suggests that rather than expecting more, the new employee is just able to get away with less. Alternatively, the changing nature of work brings with it an array of benefits, such as flexible working hours and remote working, which results in employers asking for more in return.

For Nicole Cox, chief recruitment officer of recruitment solutions provider Decision Toolbox, much of the change in employer expectation can be pinned to the recession of 2008 and the widespread downsizing it entailed. She explains that as they downsized, every hire had to be an A player: “They need more out of every person that’s on the team.”

What can employers do?

For Candice Olson, co-founder of technology company Fullbridge, miscommunication plays a key role in mismanaged expectations. As such, employers should be clear about expectations and job realities from the outset.

Equally, this miscommunication can lead to employees not reaching their full potential. In the high pressure environment of today’s workplace, nerves or inexperience can cause employers to misjudge their new recruits. Employers should give their new team members time to adjust to company culture and find out where they fit in, otherwise it could result in the misuse of talent, or worse – the dismissal of it altogether.

Olson suggests that training programmes, like work-ready ones, can help to make newly graduated employees adjust more easily. “They should walk into the game knowing all the rules and how to play it,” she said.

Whatever the causes, it is indeed a tough old world out there. One thing that shouldn’t be difficult, however, is finding the right candidate in the first place. Register your latest opportunities with GradLink today to get access to a wealth of work-ready UK-educated graduates.

By David Gee Published: June 19, 2017

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