Highlights from the ISE’s Attraction & Marketing Forum

On Tuesday 22nd October, we were delighted to host the Institute of Student Employers Attraction and Marketing Forum.

ISE Student Recruitment Survey 2019

To start off the morning, we heard an insightful presentation from Tristram Hooley (Chief Research Officer, Institute of Student Employers), looking into some of the ISE’s latest findings on trends in the graduate recruitment market.

The Inside Student Recruitment 2019 study saw responses from 153 ISE members and covered 37,389 student hires.

Recruitment Budgets

Their findings show that most (57%) of firms’ recruitment budgets are being spent on marketing; including online marketing and attraction (30%), selection (27%), face-to-face marketing and attraction (18%), diversity (9%) and other activity (7%).

The most effective approaches to attracting graduates

Tristram also shared that visits to universities, the use of external jobs boards and advertising on their own websites are the three most effective ways to attract candidates.

At Milkround, we know the importance of face-to-face engagement from the start of a student’s university journey. We visit over 70 freshers and careers fairs every year as well as touring universities to support and develop their skills. We encourage employers to do the same, to ensure you’re first to mind when they take their first steps into the working world.

If you’d like to partner with us at universities, tour with us on campus or work with us to deliver skills sessions, then please do get in touch and we’d love to help create a bespoke campaign for you!

Diversity

The study also reports that some firms are making changes to improve diversity, with 38% of respondents noting that they have changed the universities that they have visited to better enhance diversity. We also know from the report, that members believe the biggest driver for engagement with diversity is the desire to secure the best talent (cited by 76% of employers) – therefore showing that it’s not only a moral argument but it will actually help create a stronger and more talented workforce too.

 

Hype Collective: What students want in a Graduate Job

We then heard from Hype Collective, who shared their recent research, conducted with the ISE, on what students want in a graduate job.

The Work Issue Part 1 – July 2019 consisted of 9 industry interviews, 7 focus groups and a survey of over 1,000 students.

Im(moral) values

Hype Collective looked into whether Gen-Z prioritise a company’s values highly (after salary). They found that most students didn’t rank morals in the top 5 reasons why they would choose to work there (with some not even ranking this in the top 10) – which is quite surprising!

It’s time to talk

Whilst young people feel more comfortable than ever talking about their mental health to their friends (90%), when we look at whether Gen-Z feel comfortable talking to their employer about their mental health, only 25% said they do.

The findings on mental health were really interesting and matched up with our own research on Mental Health Sick Days. We found that only 24% of Gen Z respondents have been honest with their employer about taking a mental health sick day. Hype Collective’s research echoed this, showing that two thirds of Gen-Z would be more to work for a company, if they had a public and transparent approach to mental health.

Assessment processes have also come under the spotlight in their research, with respondents noting that they are bad for mental well-being, since they feel their value as a human is being judged.

Hype Collective: Panel Discussion

Hype Collective also ran a panel as part of the ISE forum, with the following panellists:

  • Natasha Dallyn, Recruitment Marketing Advisor at Shell
  • Shanice Mears, Head of Talent at The Elephant Room
  • Maria Donovan, Recruitment Director at Unlocked Graduates

Here are a couple of highlights…

Asking applicants about their mental health

We know that students and graduates have support networks and counselling available at university, but what happens when they leave and enter the workplace. A lot of employers are making huge advancements to support newbies, but can you ask applicants too much, too early in the recruitment process?

Maria from Unlocked Graduates noted that it is easier for them to ask, as a large proportion of the prison population have a mental health condition. They recommend that employers ask mental health questions after the offer is made, so that young people feel confident that this will not affect their chances of getting the job.

The longevity of a graduate’s first role

Natasha Dallyn from Shell spoke about the concept of the ‘flaky graduate’, and how leaving a job can be polarised by many people, who make assumptions and consider this a negative. She added be asking whether it is bad to see that someone has moved around in their career.

Shanice from The Elephant Room discussed portfolio careers, and how getting the most of graduates can mean supporting passion projects and sabbaticals, which can help retain employees.

How side hustles benefit The Elephant Room

With a small team of 8, Shanice spoke about the different projects that each of her team members are part of, outside of their main role.

From writing books to organising events in the grime music scene, everything comes back to The Elephant Room. Employees get what they want from their role, understand what is trending in the student population so that they can feed this back into their day job.

 

Roundtable Discussions

Next everyone in the room got involved through group roundtables and a panel discussion covering diversity in the workplace and hiring challenges, this threw up some really interesting thoughts and ideas.

One of the discussions was around how marketing and attraction approaches have changed to improve the diversity of candidates. Groups fed back that the university a candidate attended was no longer an important metric in deciding whether a graduate was right for the job. Minimum requirements were being removed from job descriptions to create a fairer process – especially since the value of a degree classification can vary from one institution to another.

 

Siemens and AIA Worldwide: Using tech to identify and hire top STEM talent

The morning concluded with an impressive case study from Siemens and AIA Worldwide on their Sir Williams Siemens Challenge, engaging and empowering engineering talent.

Working with AIA helped to reinvent and advance their traditional Sir Williams Siemens Challenge (which used to consist of submitting an essay-based task).

Their objectives

  • Increase the diversity of candidates applying (gender and degree)
  • Convey the exciting aspect of Siemens
  • Raise awareness of the brand and sells of the business

Advice on how to make a hackathon successful

  1. Get people to sign-up

Using a mix of print work, web pages, a teaser video (showing someone in the field creating a model, so that people knew what to expect), run focus groups

  1. Make it exciting

Show those apply everything that is included (such as the equipment they will get to use) – highlighting why this is a great opportunity

  1. Keep them engaged

Through closed groups on Facebook, an educational hub (perhaps through a university) and event information (so that they can follow updates and competition rules)

  1. Properly plan

Create an event agenda and map out every hour of each day – detailed planning is key!

 

 

If you want to speak to us about how Milkround can better your student and graduate recruitment processes then please don’t hesitate to get in touch: https://recruiting.milkround.com/

 

Exploring student and graduate perceptions of the working world: Our latest findings unveiled at Milkround’s annual Insight Breakfast

Milkround Insight Breakfast 2019

We had an exciting morning on the 4th July 2019, revealing our newly launched 2019 research into student and graduate career confidence, and their concerns when it comes to entering the working world.

The findings we shared, were from our Candidate Compass 2019 report, where we surveyed over 7,000 students and graduates on a number of topics, including career expectations, company culture, mental health, and whether students feel that employers are being diverse in their recruitment processes – including gender contrasts and how this impacts their perceptions of the future.

For 2019, we partnered with Universum, a global employer branding agency, who are leading in supporting employers through delivering talent market insights. Together, we shared valuable insight on Gen Z and how young people perceive employers and what makes them attractive.  

Milkround’s Key Findings

CC_Key-Findings_2019

 

How to stand out from the crowd as an employer

Claes Peyron from Universum delivered a fantastic presentation on the topic of employer branding, sharing a selection of tips for standing out from the crowd.

With students and graduates having greater options than ever before, it becoming increasingly important to ensure you’re seen as an attractive yet authentic brand to this audience. Universum’s Employer Branding Now Survey reports that differentiation is the number one employer branding priority for the World’s Most Attractive Employers.

How to gain talent through strong employer branding

  1. Revisit your key talent definitions
  2. Become more data-led
  3. Assess your Employer Value Proposition and the activation of this – the UK as a whole is focused on: having an inspiring purpose, having respect for people but also the commitment to diversity and inclusion – which isn’t a key proposition for other countries as a whole. What is most important to your company?
  4. Set long-term goals and KPIs – do you have employee-generated content to support corporate messaging and how is this tracked?
  5. Make sure your offering isn’t too generic and similar to other brands – stand out and have your own voice.

 

Top Tips from Student Minds

We were pleased to be joined by Scott Williams, Head of Development at Student Minds, who spoke about well-being among young people and how employers can best support those entering the workforce, as well as providing insight into their Graduate Well-being Report.

How to support student & graduate well-being and stress for those transitioning into the workplace:

  • Ensure graduates have a manager who is interested in their personal development
  • Provide graduates with someone they feel confident contacting if they are struggling with their well-being
  • Make sure graduates feel comfortable taking breaks during the workday, for example, taking a break for lunch
  • Support graduates in finding the work they are doing interesting
  • Ensure graduates feel able to keep up with financial pressures
  • Check that your organisation is proactive about promoting well-being
  • Allow graduates to feel included in work-related social activities
Source: Graduate Well-being Report 2017, Student Minds

 

To read our full Candidate Compass 2019 report or any of our other research, click here. To find out more, or if you’d like us to delve deeper into our research, contact us at: milkroundmarketing@milkround.com

Students’ perceptions of Brexit and tips for attracting graduates in 2019

Graduation usually comes with a feeling of accomplishment and anticipation but our research shows that 78% of those graduating this year believe Brexit will negatively impact their career.

We explored how today’s graduates feel about the job market and compared this to how graduates faired after the last period of uncertainty, in the 2008 global financial crisis. Researched showed that 50% of those who graduated during the global financial crisis found it more difficult to secure a graduate role due to the crisis – taking an average of eight months to find their first career job.

Ten years on, three fifths (58%) say the 2008 crisis had a negative impact on their career. This year’s graduates fear they will be subject to similar disadvantages as they look to enter the workforce, with 78% thinking Brexit will negatively impact their career and 52% thinking it will be more difficult to secure a graduate role.

Changing plans

With the challenges 2008 graduates faced limiting their entry into their desired career, half (50%) said they had to change their post university plans with three fifths (62%) taking a role in a different sector due to the lack of available roles. Already we’re seeing this year’s graduates taking a similar approach to delay their entry into the job market with 55% planning to postpone looking for their first role. Milkround’s research shows 60% expect they will need to take a role in a different sector, 18% think they will need to do temp work and 9% plan to instead go travelling. The results also reveal a 15% rise in the number of graduates who are planning to take up a postgraduate qualification, rather than heading straight into their career.

Salary expectations

Almost half (44%) of 2008 graduates reported their salary has not increased as much as graduates in previous year’s. The expectations are also set low for 2019 graduates, as over a third (36%) are not expecting standard salary increases post-Brexit. Recent research[1] from The Resolution Foundation think tank supports Milkround’s findings, with those entering the labour market during the financial crisis impacted in terms of wage growth and salary.

Not all doom and gloom

Despite the negative perception this year’s grads have of the current job market, the Office for National Statistics labour market research shows the number of people in work in the UK continues to reach record highs. In addition, Milkround has seen the number of graduate roles advertised on its platform increase by 104% year on year*. A recent report from the Institute of Student Employers[2], supports a positive outlook for this year’s grads with a clear majority (70%) of employers anticipating that Brexit will not impact their recruitment needs. In fact, employers on average anticipate a substantial increase (18%) in the number of graduates that they are trying to recruit this year and in the number of apprentices (47%) they plan to take on.

Georgina Brazier from Milkround noted:

“It’s easy to see the similarities in the job market from 2008 when the global financial crisis hit to this year with so much economic uncertainty. While many graduates are concerned of the impact Brexit will have on their careers, we’re a month out with no clear indication of what will happen so grads should not let themselves be distracted with all the ‘ifs, buts and maybes’.

We can somewhat put them at ease with the knowledge that Milkround is continuing to see an increase in the number of graduate roles advertised on our platform. We also offer plenty of resources to assist graduates in securing their dream role in the career of their choice. Increased competition in the market is not always a bad thing, it pushes graduates to be on top of their game and network more to gain invaluable industry connections.”

 

Insight from a Brexit and Labour Market Economist


Jonathan Portes, Brexit and labour market economist at King’s College London, said
:

“Given the current healthy state of the UK labour market, it might seem surprising how pessimistic 2019’s prospective graduates are about the impact of Brexit. But history suggests that they are right be to be worried. Brexit may well prove not just to be a short-term economic shock, but to do long-lasting damage to young people’s career prospects.

New graduates will need to be flexible and adaptable; that may mean accepting jobs in a different sector or location to their first preference if it gives them a foot on the ladder.”

 

 

Top tips for attracting and recruiting graduates during times of economic uncertainty


Connect on an individual level

Get onto university campuses and connect with students face to face. It’s important to get your company name out there and sell your brand ethos to prospective employees.

Go back to basics

Keep the application process simple and clear. Milkround’s candidate compass survey has revealed job seekers like the basics, with 84% of respondents preferring a CV/cover letter application and 84% citing they would rather have a face to face interview than a telephone or video interview.

Keep it clear

Keep your job descriptions clear of jargon to not detract students and use this as an opportunity to talk about your companies approach post Brexit.

Understand your new recruits

Host a focus group to understand any mis-conceptions students may have about your company which will allow you to tackle the issues.

Look back to move forward

Reflect on your hiring experiences. What are you going to do differently from last year to strengthen the recruitment process? What worked and what didn’t work? Be Honest.

 

For more information on this research, or if you’d like to chat to us about your student and graduate recruitment campaigns, please don’t hesitate to get in touch: https://recruiting.milkround.com/

*104% uplift reported from July/December 2017 to July/December 2018, according to Milkround data

[1] https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/business-47106711
[2] https://ise.org.uk/page/BlogBrexitImpact