Management / Why your business should hire a graduate

Why your business should hire a graduate

The graduate job market has recovered to the same level it was at before the recession, according to a new report. Should you be hiring graduates for your business too?

High Fliers’ research says that there has been an 8.7 per cent rise in the number of jobs available for university leavers this year, based on a new poll of around 18,000 students.

The UK’s leading employers in 11 out of 13 industries expect to recruit significantly more graduates in 2014 and are offering an average of eight per cent more opportunities at entry level.

The biggest growth is being seen in the public sector, accounting and professional services, City investment banks, retail, engineering and industry. The largest companies for graduates will be Teach First (1,550 vacancies) and PwC (1,200 vacancies).

Despite this, the number of graduates is still increasing, which means that for the rate of employment to keep up with the rate of graduates companies need to continue to hire them to work in businesses in a variety of sectors.

Could a graduate work well in your business? If you aren’t already considering hiring one, perhaps it’s time to think again.

Younger people bring fewer preconceptions and freshen up the workforce

Emma Wharton is HR manager at Sofabrands International. She is responsible for hiring graduates to slot into the company in a variety of roles, and has hired ten since 2011 to balance out the aging workforce.

“Graduates are fantastic for business because they come with no preconceptions about your business and what it’s going to be like,” she says. “They will look at things very differently. They are motivated, willing to learn and want to progress.”

Sofabrands International looks at the personality and people skills of applicants over grades, but has links with top universities to ensure it has a selection of excellent applications for its schemes.

They can help fight the pressures of an aging workforce

An aging population brings with it an aging workforce, which can significantly limit the potential of a business. One of the best ways to combat the problem is to hire graduates, who bring young, keen minds who want to advance within a business.

Lois Wilson from Turner and Townsend believes that hiring graduates is “the key to future growth” of the project management consultancy firm.

“Our CEO was a graduate,” she says. The company is looking to hire around 60 more this year. “They are worth their weight in gold. They will grow with your company if you provide them with the right environment. The right candidates will bring drive, energy and mind-set without being exposed to other practises which could hold them back.”

Turner and Townsend has seen five years of growth and continued graduate recruitment, which indicates good results that come from hiring them.

Graduates bring in new skills older members of the workforce have less experience with

It’s no secret that Generation Y is more clued up with technology and social media than some of the previous workforce generations – simply because it has grown up with Facebook, Google and smartphone technology.

This can be a real advantage for your business, as long as you don’t assume that just because they are young, they can’t make errors on your Twitter page, as interns have done in the past.  Some employers have been famously quoted saying that graduates and school leavers aren’t ready for the workplace, but as competition for jobs remains tight, you can be assured that a vigorous hiring process will get you the candidates you need. It’s always best to stay safe and train your interns in the jobs you want them to do once they are employed with you.

An increasing number of entry-level jobs require a graduate degree – usually of a 2.1 classification or above. They bring extra-curricular activities from working on everything from student societies to student councils. All these skills could help improve your business – if you give graduates an opportunity they might surprise you.

They are more prepared for the working world than ever before

Research from the High Fliers report indicates that a record 37 per cent of this year’s entry-level positions are expected to be filled by graduates who have already worked for their organisations.

This could be through paid internships, placements, holiday work or years in industry. Whether or not you agree with the internship culture, graduates today have far more experience in the working world than previous generations did.

Dr Jane Turner, associate dean at Newcastle Business School, is involved in driving this change in the curriculum for its business degrees through work-related learning.

“We know that students with more experience in the working world are more likely to get a job after they graduate,” she says. “We make our students job-ready for whatever they go on to do. The fee increase has given us more of a responsibility to help give students the best opportunities we can.”

Students on a number of their courses undertake fewer lectures and seminars, and more placement schemes alongside their studies. Around 90 per cent on Newcastle Business School’s Business Leadership and Corporate Management BA students get a first or a 2.1 classification, which Dr Turner puts down to being able to put into practise the skills they are learning at the same time.

“Why would you not want to hire a graduate?” she concludes. “They have talent, fresh ideas, a can-do attitude, commitment, and technology skills. It’s our social and moral responsibility to give them a chance.”