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Five tactics to catch and keep the top graduate talent

The graduating class of 2016 is almost upon us, and with them comes a stream of new talent. Each year, as competition increases, so does the repertoire of the latest university grads. But many companies are not taking adequate steps to find the right talent, or keep them when they do.

This is a problem posed by FastCompany in their 2015 College Graduate Employment Study. The study found that nearly half of 2015 graduates (49 percent) feel themselves to be underemployed or working in a job that does not require a university degree. Which is a “steady increase from 46 percent in 2014 and 41 percent of the graduates [surveyed] in 2013.”

But just what can employers do to pluck out potential candidates more easily? Here are our tips with a little help from Accenture Strategy:

1. Offer internships or graduate roles

The majority (72 percent) of university students graduating in 2015 had completed either an internship, apprenticeship or co-op during their time studying. Offering internships or similar programs can not only instil an eagerness and excitement in your graduating candidates, but it gives employers the chance to identify and begin training talent early.

Companies that do not offer such programs cut themselves off from graduates, as they will then have to wait for them to return having received training elsewhere – that is, if they come back.

2. Get online

Two thirds (64 percent) of 2015 graduates surveyed reported using a mobile app in their job search and feel that social media is the “most effective method” for finding a job. Graduates are also increasingly opting for online platforms such as GradLink to aid in their job search. It follows, then, for recruiters to be loud and present where their potential candidates are. “Digital investment” is essential if you want to capture the attention of millennials.

3. Think small

The study also found that just 15 percent of graduates want to work for a large company. Research into millennial behaviour found that they “want both creative work cultures as well as environments that promote transparency and give them a chance to advance quickly.” However, larger companies can offer these environments too, they just need to be better advertised (which is where that social media page you just set up comes in).

Additionally, millennials are wary of large, competitive and inflexible companies. Collaboration and community is key.

4. Invest in them

Another indication of changing graduate attitudes is the importance placed on training in their first job. Graduates want to learn. In fact, 77 percent of them reportedly expected that their employers give them training, although only half of respondents felt that they had received it.

This lack of guidance is one of the reasons so many graduates jump ship. Companies who create long-term development programmes that echo this emphasis on growth will be much more desirable to applicants, as well as more likely to retain them.

5. Create a fun work culture

Millennials work to live, not the other way around. According to the report, graduates “would prefer to work at a company with a positive social atmosphere and earn a lower salary than make more money someplace where it's less fun to work.” Now this may seem like idealism and in reality work cannot always be fun, but transparency, authenticity and inclusion are three big things for the average graduate. Progress your company with these ideals in mind and you will attract a happy, pragmatic and proactive applicant base.

Overall, studies are indicating that with this new generation comes new principles, career goals and attitudes. To attract and keep these talented and enterprising individuals, companies must change with the times or lose out. To tap into this pool of fresh graduates, contact us today.

By David Gee Published: July 14, 2016

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