Companies can no longer plan on securing long-term staff loyalty simply by investing in graduate schemes, according to research from the Association of Graduate Recruiters.

The study explains that graduates who win a place on UK graduate schemes stay for an average of only two and half years after their programme has been completed.

The two most common reasons for leaving were for a higher salary offered by another company and employers not matching the expectations for career progression. Organisations that retain graduate talent are those that invest in them, as hiring great talent only works if that talent is meaningfully developed, coached and managed.

Aside from salaries, the investment that companies put into their graduates varies widely, with banking and energy companies spending more that £5,000 per hire and engineering businesses less than £1,500.

These findings originate from a survey of 191 of the country’s biggest graduate employers, who between them account for nearly 20,000 graduate hires annually.

How do you ensure career development is available?

It can be difficult for businesses to promise their employee’s a lifetime career, so the employer is forced to focus on the best interests of the company instead. Most graduates will have a career path planned and some targets that they would like to meet, so it is integral that those aspirations are aligned with the company’s own.

An employee that starts learning a new skill and who is made aware that the business is no longer heading in a direction that utilises it will look to take advantage of that skill somewhere else – that’s why a clear and open strategy is important.

Employees can often get frustrated when they do not know how to get ahead and are not clear in how they can develop themselves for the future. Making performance expectations known for the future will allow staff to assess personally whether they have what it takes to move forward in the organisation.

If you’re an employer looking to attract the best graduate talent, find out how Discovery Graduates can help