They urged employers to recruit graduates this year, despite the downturn because delaying recruitment will cost companies more in terms of training and upskilling the candidates when they are eventually hired.
Stephanie Bird, a board member of European Association of People Management and director of HR capacity at the Chartered Institute for Personnel Development, said it was more cost-effective to build people now than buy them at a later date.
She said: “[Cutting back on graduate recruitment] is short-term gain, in exchange for long-term pain.
“We’ve seen in the past, and we’re seeing now, how companies will over-recruit when times are good, and then shut the tap off when things get more difficult.
“The attitude is we’ll think about it when we get there. Then you’ll find yourself relying on other people for strategy and becoming dependent on them; it becomes a case of buying people, not building them.”
Nick Tout, director of Hays recruitment’s accountancy and finance department, added: “Most commercial organisations have significantly lower hiring levels and many have stopped graduate recruitment completely – they will be the first to suffer when there is an upturn.
“The investment in training and up-skilling candidates that will then be required may negate any short term cost-cutting that is being achieved by not recruiting graduates.”
But many of the UK’s top graduate employers, including Deloitte and PricewaterhouseCoopers, are still recruiting.
Personnel Today previously reported that these top recruiters were concerned that students were being put off applying for jobs because they believed the ‘hype’ that there were no jobs available.