Between 2017-18, there were 2.34 million students studying at UK higher education institutions who would go on to start their search for employment and if this number follows the trend of the last decade, this will only increase. You tend to see the likes of Ernst & Young and KPMG hiring graduates year on year, purely down to the size of these organisations, but with smaller companies, they might not feel as if they have the resources to bring on recent graduates. Certain industries, including engineering, favour apprenticeships over hiring graduates, down to the more hands on approach to learning. When the economy is booming companies are always looking to grow and progress, so why don’t more companies employ graduates?
Graduates are usually eager to learn and get stuck into their new role. Employers can mould graduates to their way of working and make sure they are trained to their standard, so that when they progress within the company, they have the company’s culture and methods ingrained in them, which can be invaluable to employers. Often when hiring a more experienced worker they are used to alternative modus operandi, so while employers may think it is more time-consuming training graduates from scratch, this may not always be the case.
Taking the chance on graduates will help to promote loyalty from such employees. Graduates appreciate that companies have taken a chance on them and often feel a level of responsibility back to the company and want to succeed for them in return for the risk that has been taken on them. Grads tend to view their employer in a favourable light, as they have no comparison due to limited previous work experience.
As graduates have recently been in education they are likely to have the most up-to-date knowledge and skill sets, so can bring a lot more to your company than previously thought. They bring a new way of thinking and can often shake up the organisation and bring new innovative ideas. This would also lead to a more varied skill set across the whole organisation. There is also a larger pool of candidates, so companies have more options due to there being more choice and graduates are often easier to target, with the rise of Linkedin and other mediums for finding jobs online.
Hiring a fresh grad can cost a lot more than you think, when you consider the cost of bringing them in, training them up, as well as providing all the equipment for them to do their job. The training is likely to be provided internally, so companies will have to factor in the time taken away from someone else’s role, which they are getting paid for, to train the graduate. However, this can be combated by bringing in more than one graduate at a time, enabling companies to train the whole cohort more efficiently. Aside from the monetary expense, bringing graduates into your company can cause a time constraint.
When bringing graduates into your company, you do so with the risk that they may not fit, in terms of the role, culture and the team. With this role being their only experience of work, they may not be cut out for what exactly is required from them and fail to perform. This can result in an early exit from the company, so companies have to consider the risk behind hiring graduates. If they leave, they will have been a drain on the companies’ time and money, for which they get no return on their investment which certain companies simply can’t afford. Some graduates are sure of what they what to do, whereas others may have to try a couple of things before finding their true passion, and companies don’t want to fall foul of this. However, the same can be said about bringing in a more experienced member into the team, as they may not fit with their new employers due to being used to a different way of working, so could lead to them leaving to go back to their previous employer which not only wastes time, but slows down the recruitment process as their role remains vacant.
All in all, students have studied for at least 3 years at university to gain their degrees, and there aren’t enough graduate roles for them to go into, so they often go into roles below their level of expertise. More should be done to ensure these graduates can achieve their dream roles. Companies have to weigh up the cost and the potential for failure against the possibility of the graduate having a long and prosperous career with them. Companies must also decide whether hiring a graduate is the right thing to do for their growth plans, or whether it is something they should consider later down the line, when they are more stable and established.