Competition for graduates means employers should get back to basics

Employers targeting graduates should consider getting back to basics with high-visibility campaigns on university campuses, according to the chief executive of the Association of Graduate Recruiters (AGR).

Last week’s AGR Graduate Recruitment Survey predicted that the number of graduate positions will increase this year by 14.5%. In 2004, vacancies rose by 15.5%.

The survey shows that employers are expecting to pay new graduates a median starting salary of 22,000 in 2005 – an increase of 4.8% on 2004 and the biggest predicted increase for five years. Starting salaries for accountancy graduates in some parts of the UK are forecast to exceed 25,000 for the first time.

As competition for top graduates hots up, employers should make sure they are in contact with university careers services and departments as well as ensuring they have high visibility on campuses, said AGR chief executive Carl Gilleard.

“As competition stiffens we have to work harder and need to make our brands highly visible,” he told Personnel Today. “We haven’t shouted as loudly as we might.”

Online recruitment remains important, but face-to-face meetings are the key, Gilleard said.

In related news, the latest Recruitment Confidence Index (RCI) has shown that last year saw the biggest annual rise in recruitment activity since 1999.

The RCI quarterly trends survey is published by Cranfield School of Management and the Daily Telegraph in association with Personnel Today.

See next week’s issue of Personnel Today for an in-depth special report into the use of technology in recruitment.

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