Employability

Are graduates keeping their job options open?

By Rohan Holland on May, 10 2022

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Rohan Holland

Rohan is a graduate recruitment and development specialist. With extensive experience managing graduate programs and professional resourcing roles in organisations including BP, BHP Billiton and Rio Tinto, Rohan has worked throughout Australia and abroad. He has a passion for sharing graduate program insights and coaching graduates to be better prepared for the recruitment process and the study to work transition.

Many graduate employers across the country are right now finalising graduate offers for their 2023 intake. What tactics can graduate employers adopt to keep their graduate cohorts engaged post offer, reduce reneges, and maintain a healthy ROI?

 

Graduates are currently signing on but don't start for another 8-9 months, which is something that strikes uncertainty in every graduate employer.

 

According to GradConnection's survey of students late last year, "65% said they would keep applying for roles after accepting one." Engagement with these cohorts has never been more critical. The time, resources and costs required to re-recruit replacements based on withdrawn graduates (before they even start) are substantial.

 

So it poses a few questions:

  • What can we do to keep our graduates engaged post offer?
  • How do we minimise the risk of candidates withdrawing from offers? Especially later in the year?
  • What strategies, platforms or communications can we use?
  • What if we don't have the time or resources to do this effectively?
  • But I (and my team) need to get through the Vacation Recruitment season and complete other projects. I don't have time to worry about next year's starters. They will be ok, won't they?

 

These are the questions we ALL ask. From an employer's point of view, we assume that it's a great safety net for a student to have an offer by around May or June in their final year to keep their head down and complete their degree knowing they have a job. However, now more than ever, this is a precarious place to be in.

 

According to a recent Australian Financial Review article, recruitment firm - Robert Half - found that "42% of the business leaders they surveyed said more candidates are withdrawing their application or reneging on a job offer in favour of more compelling offers than before the pandemic". ('Employees call the shots this year' AFR, 23 Feb 2022).

 

A low renege rate is more critical with graduate hires, given the long lead time between offer and commencement. Historically, graduate employers have used a basic 'keep warm' strategy during this pre-start period, including an occasional email, a 'good luck for your exams' or birthday card, company newsletters, and even an invite to a team morning tea. However, is it enough in this post-covid, talent-tight market?

 

At Readygrad, we believe it takes a shift of thinking and an innovative approach to Graduate Talent programs to ensure retention is maximised. As employers, we should be asking ourselves what we can do to engage and develop graduates earlier in the process.

 

According to Forage's recent 'Voice of the Student' study:

  • 98% of students believe they could benefit from more practical training
  • Only 59% feel ready for the world of work.

 

So, doesn't it make sense for the graduate development program to commence shortly after the offer? To equip pre-start graduate cohorts with relevant, practical work-ready skills to set them up for success in their study to work transition? All this while giving them the skills they need to succeed in the organisation. When graduates feel engaged and connected with each other and the business, they are far more likely to commit to commencing on day one. From a pre-start graduate point of view, it signals a reinforcement that you (the employer) are invested in their development.

 

In summary, early engagement and creating an environment of belonging to newly recruited graduates to 'keep them warm' well before they commence is pivotal to the success of any graduate program. With many employers doing the bare minimum to invest and engage with their offered graduate cohorts, this can be a real differentiator and a positive talking point for organisations' "employer brand" in the market, not to mention the importance of generating a healthy ROI on graduate hiring and retention.

 

Readygrad holds a unique position in the market, supporting universities and organisations by designing and delivering graduate employability-based training and professional work experience programs.

 

If you are interested in exploring a partnership with Readygrad, talk to us.

 

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