Graduates add up to £1bn to value of UK business

Graduates contribute around £1bn of added value to the UK economy on an
annual basis, according to research published this week.

The report, launched by the Association of Graduate Recruiters (AGR) at its
annual conference in Wales, underlined that the business case for graduate
recruitment programmes is a strong as ever.

It comes at a time when many organisations are adopting limited graduate
recruitment strategies and in a few cases even scrapping them altogether.

Although recruiting university leavers is often perceived by organisations
as expensive, abandoning a graduate recruitment programme can prove costly in
the long run, warned Tom Smith, HR director of financial services firm JP
Morgan.

"If you think the graduate marketplace is expensive, the marketplace at
vice-president and above is 10 times, even 50 times more expensive," he
said.

"So to bring somebody in from another organisation is going to cost you
a lot of money. We would much rather build our own talent pipeline. Do you do a
Chelsea [football club] or do you have your own academy?"

Nevertheless, companies have to work hard to prove the financial value of
recruiting graduates, said Liz Burton, graduate recruitment manager at
manufacturing firm GKN.

"I’m constantly being called to deliver metrics to prove our worth in
the business," she said. "All the metrics are circulated up to the
higher echelons of GKN."

UK companies were praised for their graduate recruitment policies at the
annual convention of the US National Association of Colleges and Employers last
week.

The association singled out its UK counterparts for their progressive
policies, particularly in the field of online recruitment.

Delegates from the US, the UK and Australia, agreed to establish a global
network of guidance and recruitment practitioner associations.

Alison Hodgson, chair of the AGR, said that once it was established, the
network could offer a valuable resource for gaining insights into trends,
developments and best practice in the graduate market across all four corners
of the globe.

By Daniel Thomas

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