Real Prospects 2009 received responses from 24,500 graduates, who reported their actual work life experiences, rather than their perceptions pre-employment. The research by Graduate Prospects reveals a clear gap between the positive experiences of those on a graduate scheme and the frustration of those who are not. The survey shows:
- One in three graduates believes their employer has not met expectations
- Opportunities to progress are important to nine in ten graduates, but fewer than three in five are satisfied with their prospects
- One in three believe management stifles innovation, their opinions are undervalued and they are under confident in senior management
- Given the current economic climate, only 56% feel informed of financial changes
- First full fee-paying cohort of graduates achieve a salary of around £18,114 over four years, but £7k higher if they land a place on a graduate training scheme
- 79% feel confident about their employer’s future despite the recession
- A supportive learning environment doubles loyalty
More than 130 companies have taken part in Real Prospects 2009, verifying their commitment to improving transparency and raising standards within the industry, facilitating more informed decisions for developing graduate programmes.
Mike Hill, chief executive of Graduate Prospects calls for businesses to work together and learn from the findings in a bid to beat the recession: “Graduates have the ambition to drive the UK economy forward, but what we’re hearing is that some employers may be holding them back. Whilst not ignoring the fact that most graduates are happy in their work, particularly those on a graduate training scheme, we have to stand up and take notice of the third whose experiences simply aren’t living up to expectations. There’s no doubt that we’re in an economic recession, so without the lure of fat salaries we need listen to our graduates and learn from employers who run graduate schemes to enable us to better attract and retain talent.
“Investment mustn’t stop after the initial recruitment process if we are to bridge the gap between expectation and reality with better communication, training and scope to innovate. If we want our graduates to be the successful business leaders of the future, we must take the process of their growth seriously, developing the talent pipeline and investing in our future.”
The research was conducted in partnership with the Association of Graduate Recruiters. Carl Gilleard, chief executive adds: “There is no doubt employers are spoilt for choice in terms of graduate talent this year because of vacancy cuts and increased competition. However, that certainly does not mean they should allow themselves to be complacent or to let their graduate development standards drop. Organisations which create a ‘misery culture’ for graduates by stifling innovation and progression or ignoring work/life balance risk losing their best talent as soon as there is any sign of an economic upturn.