Store plays loyalty card to retain IT young guns

The House of Fraser solves its IT recruitment problems by paying undergraduate IT students retainers to join the firm after they graduate, the company has revealed.

The department store chain, one of a growing number of firms to focus their IT recruitment efforts on young people, said the scheme is more cost-effective and produces better results than traditional methods of recruitment.

The company hires IT undergraduates from universities running ‘thick sandwich’ courses with a 12-month work placement between their second and third years of study. It offers retainers worth £150 a month to the brightest students to encourage them to join the firm after they graduate.

The scheme has been very successful to date, according to House of Fraser IT director Frank Berridge.

“We find it very good because they know us and we know them,” he told Personnel Today’s sister magazine Computer Weekly. “We have had them working for us for 12 months. They know the House of Fraser and its ways and would not have accepted our offer to come back the following year if they were not happy.”

Although, in theory, the House of Fraser can demand that graduates repay their retainers if they fail to take a job after their final year, in practice this has only happened once in 10 years of running the scheme.

Berridge said the undergraduates who join the firm during their sandwich year are able to carry out productive work within weeks of joining, with only a minimum amount of training.

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