It will soon be that time of year again when graduates around the country, fresh from posting Instagrams of their hats flying through the air, will start heading over to LinkedIn to set up their new profiles.
For some, the job search has likely been in progress for the last 6 months. But with the economy currently suffering from a covid induced downturn, the pressure is now on for both recruiters and candidates alike.
So without further ado, here are 12 definitive reasons why you should hire graduates this year:
Why hire graduates?
Due to their lack of experience most graduates will not expect an extortionately high starting salary. Of course this doesn’t mean you can just pay your graduates a wage significantly lower than the market price! Generally graduates in the UK will earn between £18,000 and £28,000 a year (depending on the role in question – some roles, such as in banking, will be significantly more).
Graduates have been studying for years to put themselves in a more favourable position in the job market, and most will be highly motivated to prove their place in the business environment.
It takes hard work and a great deal of commitment to choose a degree before even turning 18 and carry it through for 3 or 4 years. This level of commitment would undoubtedly benefit a business. A bit of healthy competitiveness may occur here. The fresh work ethic and motivation may inspire your existing employees to up their game and it may bring new energy to the workplace.
Aspiring Growth and Development
According to our recent “Graduates at Work Report” an overwhelming 94% of graduates surveyed viewed work as an avenue for honing their own skills. This eagerness to refine one’s own abilities unlocks the door to fresh innovation, providing benefits to the entire company.
Furthermore, 80% of respondents consider the prospect of career advancement to be of great significance. This presents employers with an opportunity to provide training and secure an invaluable team member who actually want to grow and improve themselves.
Perfect for small business looking to grow
Following from this, the drive and motivation of a graduate will be especially useful for companies looking to expand and develop.
The ambition of graduates can help drive a small business forward at a much faster rate, especially if it means their future career progression can be enhanced.
Hiring graduates will bring a fresh set of eyes and new opinions to old projects. Having spent the last 3 or 4 years learning critical thinking skills most graduates will be highly inquisitive upon starting a new role.
They will be able to notice things existing employees seem to miss, or question methods that have been in place for years, helping to make your company more efficient.
What graduates may not have in long term work experience they make up for this in specific areas of knowledge.
Having a degree means gaining in-depth knowledge about a specific subject, but as they are more common than ever before, graduates will need to stand out in other ways, such as having previous work experience, excellent soft skills, or being a great match with your company culture.
Another upside is that having grown up with the internet, most graduates today have excellent knowledge of digital tech, the internet and using computers compared to those who remember life before the internet. Young graduates will also have more knowledge about upcoming trends, whether they be internet based or not.
Motivation and dedication
In our “Graduates at Work” survey 86% of graduates surveyed preferred meaningful work over a high salary. Employees who derive motivation from the work itself often exhibit higher dedication, driven by the realisation of the impact their contributions bring.
Recent graduates (we like to think of them as rough diamonds) possess the potential to make significant contributions with the guidance and support they receive. A company that extends opportunities for graduates to work, grow, and evolve invests in its own future success. These graduates carry tremendous potential to advance within the organization, quickly evolving into highly valuable team members shortly after joining.
Unlike other new recruits, graduates will be less likely to have developed bad habits they might have picked up from previous jobs (unless you include living off beans on toast).
They can be taught from the off in your preferred method of working that will best benefit the company, and will likely learn it much faster than non-graduates.
The flexible student lifestyle means many graduates may be apprehensive about starting the dreaded 9-5 slog.
With more adaptable working hours, work-from-home options and rewards later down the line graduates may be a little less apprehensive to get going in the working world. Small things like a work lunch or a good stock of biscuits will be a luxury after having to budget and scrimp for 3+ years.
Transferable study skills
Many of the soft skills graduates learn at university are transferable to business. Throughout their degree students must create and give presentations, write coherent and compelling arguments, collaborate on group projects, prioritise their workload to meet deadlines and many have to work with data or unusual computer programs.
They are also more familiar with change; see how well many of this year’s graduates deal with a global health and economic crisis. Many are excellent independent learners and comfortable with less than ideal work environments such as busy university halls, meaning they are adept at blocking out office chatter and knuckling down.
Lastly with all their social media and online know-how graduates are adept at juggling a conversation, their work and an online interaction all at the same time.
Social media brand ambassadors
In today’s world, visibility on social media has become more of a norm than an exception.
Most recent graduates are adept social media users, meaning many will be able to offer fresh insights and find new opportunities. Their digital prowess positions them as potential catalysts for increased visibility and resonance of the company’s message across various platforms.
The advantage of having employees serve as brand ambassadors cannot be overstated. Brand ambassadors actively promote company-related content on their personal channels, significantly enhancing the company’s social media presence and lending added credibility to its messaging.
As well as being able to work hard, graduates can work on anything. The education system requires you to jump through many hoops in order to get ahead, so when it comes to work life, graduates are more prepared to create a good impression.
While your current employees may deem some tasks unglamorous or beneath them, a graduate will jump on anything you offer them as they’re more open to new opportunities and will do much more to gain new experiences.
Additionally, graduates are less likely to have a family, or long term home life responsibilities. For some, this is their first taste of life outside of the education system and they are ready to pack up their bags and head off anywhere you might need them to be.
Can trial their work
Is there anything worse than making a recruitment decision and then regretting it a few months later? Well, yes. But it’s still both a massive inconvenience and cost.
Graduates are keen to gain work experience in any way they can and are often open to internships.
Whether these are paid or not, they are a non-committal way to see how someone works. If you think they’ll fit well in your team you could offer them a position, and if not, then there’s no large financial or temporal loss of resources. Think of it as a worker-preview.
Come with their contacts
Students have a completely different contact pool to those already working at your company. You can use this novelty to your advantage; graduates can easily get in touch with lecturers, fellow graduates in a wide array of careers, companies where they have done past work experience with and professional family connections. You never know when they could come in handy.
Furthermore, hiring graduates could mean further connections with their university, which can provide mutual benefits to both business and university. It would allow you more access to new recruits, groundbreaking new research and collaboration opportunities. For example, if you notice your area of work is lacking in a particular talent pool, you could raise this with the university and they may agree to run additional programs for their students to make them more employable.
Return on investment
Although initially it may take some time to train up your graduate recruits, they can quickly become a valuable asset to your team. You have the potential to keep a graduate hire for the duration of their career, allowing them to flourish within your company long term.
Compared to taking on those with 10 years experience in the sector, hiring a graduate will often have more long term yield. At the end of the day, in the ever more competitive job market they will be forever grateful you gave them their first real job and what could be more rewarding than that?
If you’re interested in refining your graduate recruitment process then give us a call, or drop us an email, and one of the team would be happy to talk you through some of our graduate recruitment assessments, which have been specifically designed with graduates in mind.