Poor graduate tracking leaves human assets ‘hidden’

The focus on online graduate recrutiment means valuable talent is being lost in the system, according to new research from the Institute for Employment Studies (IES) and the Council for Industry and Higher Education (CIHE).

The research, which involved 40 interviews in 10 case study organisations and an audit of 100 graduate employers’ websites, concluded that the online selection process may be excluding a diversity of talent beyond that indicated by fairly crude measures such as A-level scores and degree class.

Linda Barber, IES research consultant and lead author of the report, said technology has not been harnessed to explain or track the full range of graduate employment opportunities within organisations, outside centralised corporate schemes.

“Graduates who enter jobs at local level typically remain hidden, and run the risk of being under-utilised,” she said. “We found that, at this level, employers do not collect graduate tracking data in any meaningful way, and so have nothing to analyse on their progress or potential contribution.”

Helen Connor, associate director of the CIHE, said businesses are increasingly recruiting online in an effort to reach a broader range of graduates.

“If they can give more information about the capabilities they are looking for and help candidates to self-assess their suitability, then they will be doing themselves and graduates a good turn,” she said.

“Too many graduates waste their own and employers’ time, and clearer guidance can help everyone.”

Where can talent be missed?

  • Graduates with less-traditional university entrance qualifications, for example from vocational routes or access courses
  • Graduates in the business who did not enter via graduate schemes
  • Graduates who have completed graduate development schemes and moved on.

To avoid missing out on hidden talent employers need to:

  • Make sure that their selection criteria are fair and fit-for-purpose
  • Monitor all graduate entry, not just specifically graduate streams
  • Track post-scheme graduates in the longer-term to inform and improve recruitment strategy.

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