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