Tag Archive for graduate employability

Graduates And Employability #GEC12

Last week I spoke at a great conference/unconference in Leeds, the Graduate Employability Conference 2012, organised by the team at Gradcore. I really enjoy this event. partly for the topics and also because Martin Edmondson has been brave enough to run a half day conference and a half day unconference. It’s a formula that works well.
This is the second year I have spoken at this event. It’s always interesting to go back as a returner and see what, if anything has changed. As i have done in the past, I like to write my thoughts on a blank sheet of paper in no particular order and share what stands out. These are my thoughts:

>The cost of education is rising steeply. whilst entry-level salaries are decreasing.

> For the second year running, a student stated they received no advice or training in social media, whilst the employability departments insist they deliver classes and advice.

> 70% of career service time is spent helping write CV’s rather than giving advice. This seems a huge waste.

> Theres limited use of alumni groups, with little mention of mentoring.

> Social media training is delivered in the classroom, delivered formally. I think this needs a more social approach through mentors etc.

> If you want to get something ignored by students, put it on a poster or notice board.

> The main method of communication between the careers office and students is e-mail. There is little use of social or mobile text messaging.

> The average entry salary outside of London is below the £20k needed for an overseas student to gain a work visa.

> In the US, the quality of a course is judged by the cost of learning rather than the quality of the course. This pushes up the cost of education.

> Research indicates that newly qualified graduates will need additional training to be ready for work. Graduates offer potential for the future, but not potential now.

> An increasing number of students are leaving study before qualifying to open a business, or starting a business on leaving. It was noticeable that some universities now support and encourage entrepreneurship. This needs to grow and spread to all Universities.

> The careers service is focused on the top employers such as the big 4, whilst the majority of the open opportunities are with S.M.E,;s

> The first person a student should meet when they arrive at University is the careers officer.

> Recruiters underestimate the difficulties faced by newly qualified students, in particular with regards relocation.

> Much work is needed promoting brand “student” to SME’s. The jobs are with the SME’s but there is work to be done selling the benefit of employing a grad.

> When funding was available for internships and student placements, 70% of the placements resulted in full-time hires. Government should be looking to incentivize companies to hire students, and support them in relocation.

These are the main things I remember from the event.


The Employability Panel #GEC12

The panel consists of Rowan Foster Gradcore Research Manager, Nicola Turner, Director of Employability at Aston, Carla Murray, Graduate Manager, Morrisons, Liz Weatherill, MD, Enable2 and most importantly Karen Leah Hardgrave, recent Grad. It’s a great panel, and I’m going to try to feedback the Q & A.
Q1: How do you feel about SMES receiving a wage subsidy for interns and what impact do you think it would have?
A: Anything would be welcome. There is plenty of evidence that those companies that get their interest pricked by a wage subsidy, and this leads to employment and opportunity. 66% of the funded interns from Aston ended up employed. they are not convinced this would have happened without the pot of money to subsidise it.
In the last recession, plenty of funding was put in to creating the gateway to work, but this funding is not really availability. the Wilson review recommends a change in this, and sees funding as being the big draw to get SME employers to hire Grads.
A subsidy would enable the small companies to compete. The feeling of the panel was yes please.
Q2: How can employers get feedback from large organisations on failed candidates?
Morrisons try to give candidate feedback. The University team is looking for this at every stage but it is not forthcoming. The relationships need to be built between the employers and the Universities. the universities would like data. the employers don’t yet have that because Grad recruitment has been done in silos, so data is scarce now.
Q3: what thoughts on disabled graduates? how does the panel support these candidates in to employability?
All the recruitment process should support disability in the hiring process.
Q4: Nationally, placement participation is down. How will you change this?
A: Support from business is key. Aston feel the need is for compulsory placements as a part of study. (This is being cooked a bit by using other experience as credits including job shop.)
Q5: Is the careers sevice not fit for purpose?
A: An ex- student says all they banged on about was CV’s. I learnt about LinkedIn at #truLeeds and that got me a job.
Support them in the application process. (Sounds a bit like the answer to that is yes.)
6: Why did you get a job, that your peers aren’t?
A: Both offers I got. one came from Twitter and the other from linkedIn. universities need to teach networking. no one at Uni knew job fairs or networking events exist. The University needs to do that. get out there and network. the careers service should teach that.
Q7: How can employability depts get the attention of students in an e-mail?
A: Don’t use an e-mail, connect via Social media. Social media is where we all at. If you want to hide information in a University, put it on a poster.
great panel. Karen was the star.