The kids are alright | Breakthrough Funding

Sunday, August 9, 2015

The kids are alright

Why you shouldn’t dismiss graduates as unfit for the world of work. 

It’s summer and school’s out. Students will flock to beaches and holiday destinations. They’ll be lounging around (if they have rich parents) or working in temporary jobs (if they don’t). Most of us however, aside from a quick two weeks away, will be in a stuffy office praying the air conditioning doesn’t pack in or wondering when we will ever have a British August without rain.

For those just graduating from university the coming months won’t just be about earning some extra cash. It’ll be a stark reality check; desperately searching for a proper job with a salary and hopefully one that doesn’t come with a zero hours contract.

What do I do with my degree qualification? How can I land that first job when I don’t have full time permanent work experience? How can I prove that I’m hardworking and reliable? Recent graduates all commonly pose these questions.

And they are asked justly. Research into 2013 and 2014 graduates suggest that only 58% of them are now working full-time. That’s a lot of untapped qualified potential just going to waste.

Employers can be biased against taking on a graduate, assuming they don’t have the work skills or discipline to take on a full time role. They believe their primary daytime activity for the past three years has been watching Countdown. They don’t think they’re reliable and don’t want to invest training time only for them to leave within the year.

But can that possibly be true of all graduates? Surely you would be gaining an individual who has spent close to the last two decades of their life in education, and is bursting to finally get out into the real world and get their teeth sunk into some actual work .

Enterprise, the car rental company, is bucking the trend of shying away from graduate recruitment and investing in the future of these bright minds. They believe it’s a wise investment decision and employment strategy. They might just be on to something.

Enterprise has long had a policy of promoting from within rather than using expensive recruitment agencies. This means they really have to focus on hiring the right people in the first place.

To help achieve this aim they allocate resources to raise their profile within UK universities. Campus managers, students or those on internships, act as a liaison between the company and potential applicants.

They give presentations on the company, cultivate relationships with clubs and organisations, attend careers fairs and run mentoring programmes for students. The strategy helps significantly widen the net for new employees.

With the promise of progression and promotion within the business, staff are happier, will stay longer, and are more likely to give their best. It allows companies to take someone fresh and induct them in their culture and processes without having to undo previous experience.

At Breakthrough Funding we have just employed a graduate (James) and aside from the financial benefit of hiring an ambitious young person rather than use traditional recruitment methods, if you allow it, it could really transform your business. We've certainly added a staff member who is tech-savvy and experienced in social media in addition to his degree subject skills. He looks at our organisation afresh, has a different perspective on our potential target markets and has lots of ideas on doing things more efficiently.

Surely the huge proportion of graduates will want to make an impression and work hard just like James, after all to them they’re beginning a new career not just starting a new job . . .  and they’ll be very grateful to you for that.

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