New findings published in the trendence UK Graduate Barometer Survey 2014 suggest that the economic crisis has caused students to have less faith in employers. The survey of more than 27,000 students highlighted the extent of the damage done to students’ perceptions of graduate recruiters in the wake of the downturn – with 40% of students admitting to have lost trust in employers.
The study sought to elicit students’ career goals, their job hunting behaviour and the employers they would most like to work for. Only a fifth of respondents (19%) strongly disagreed that the recession had caused them to have less trust in employers. This widespread luck of confidence was even more evident among students from state schools, with 44% stating a loss of trust compared to 37% from private schools.
Employers Have Frozen Graduate Starting Salaries
Although the UK graduate market is expected to experience hiring spree, after a prolonged period of job deficiency for university graduates, the starting salaries for young people entering the workforce are still low.
The Telegraph recently reported that almost 60% of employers froze their graduate starting salaries again last year, a trend that carries on from the advent of the downturn. Also, 65% have not increased their pay rates for 2014.
Tanya de Grunwald, founder of careers website, GraduateFog said
“Employers should remember that the cost of living has surged in the last few years - and rent and bills will now wipe out a bigger proportion of grads’ pay packet… All employers must remember their responsibility to pay their young staff a wage they can actually live on. They will also need to pay back their student debt which can be up to £50,000.”
The Graduate Recruitment Industry Needs to Restore its Faith
Trust plays a key element in students’ decision-making especially about which companies to apply to and influences their choice of first employer after graduation. As a result, this trust deficit may impact negatively on employers’ ability to recruit the right talent and candidates from a wide range of backgrounds. Individual recruiters on their part seem to tackle this issue directly with various marketing and on campus activities.
Chris Phillips, information and research director of GTI Media, commented,
“When thousands of undergraduates tell trendence that they are losing trust in employers, it’s the employers’ job to rebuild that trust. Employers cannot thrive if admiration is replaced by indifference – or, to be a little less oblique, if the number of decent applications goes down. Trust is not magically restored by doing nothing”.
Looking for Possible Solutions
Organisations should employ reactive strategies to put students’ trust back on the right track. Since the graduate job market is gradually reviving, employers should take this circumstance as a stepping stone to make graduates feel valued. They should embrace transparent policies and organise more open days so that students grasp a first-hand understanding of the corporate culture and what employers expect of entry-level employees.
It also vital to boost the creation of internships for millenials to help them build essential skills necessary to thrive in today’s demanding job market. In doing so, employers must focus on making graduates feel valued and reward them for high levels of performance and make them visible for their accomplishments. At the same time, it is important to make sure that graduates who participate in internships don’t complete their scheme without receiving the right training which will equip them with the necessary hard and soft skills.
Employers should also open two-way communication with universities’ career services and regularly organise Careers exhibition days, enabling students to meet with potential employers as well as seminars and workshops providing CV writing and preparation for job interviews.
All in all, the recession has undermined graduates’ trust in employers and this entails a serious threat to employers’ mission of finding the right talent. Employers should foster a sincere and open communication with students and do as much as they can to make them feel valued.