As competition increases to secure the best graduate talent, employers must raise the bar to ensure their carefully selected candidates don’t turn them down in favour of another employer’s offer. Some graduate employers have raised their on-campus attraction budgets; others have revised their offering in terms of salary, benefits and progression. In my opinion, there’s another solution to this which brings huge benefits to employers and offers a reliable method of talent pipeline construction…
Offering industrial placements. Great for students and great for business, here’s how an industrial placement student could benefit you.
Great employees – undergraduates embarking on industrial placements are ambitious, eager and keen to perform well. They know that this opportunity could be an essential stepping stone towards starting their graduate career and so they are eager to impress. The benefit for you is that you get the services of a high calibre employee who wants to make an impact and wants to achieve.
A yearlong interview – it sounds overwhelming, but an industrial placement is essentially a yearlong interview. As an employer, you can really get under the skin of how an individual works, what motivates them, what their values are, what their strengths are and how they could be developed. You can see them ‘in action’ and even get to know them socially. The most comprehensive of graduate recruitment processes won’t give you the insight into a person that an industrial placement will, making placement students (potentially) the ideal candidates for your graduate scheme.
Ideas & projects? Under control! – undertaking a workplace project is excellent experience for an undergraduate. So you know all of those ideas you have and those projects that just sit in the ether waiting for some attention? Placement students can give them the attention they deserve! Students can dedicate their time in your business to executing some of these projects – projects that more established employees just never get the time to do. Of course, they will need support and guidance from colleagues, but handing over the reins to them will give them a real sense of responsibility and a great sense of achievement upon completion. It will also give you insight into how the individual copes with responsibility, how they co-ordinate and manage projects, how they tackle obstacles, make decisions and solve problems.
Secure talent early – on average, 45% of previous placement students were converted into graduate employees in 2016 (AGR Annual Survey 2016). Imagine having a pool of candidates, who you know inside-out, to form part of your graduate intake? Admittedly not all of them may be suitable, but if you could secure just 30% of your next graduate intake through offering roles to previous placement students, a third of your work would be done!
With all the latest research findings suggesting that competition for good graduates is only going to get tougher, employers need to address how they will engage with the ever-growing graduate market. Whether this is done by increasing marketing budgets, raising salaries or enhancing offerings, introducing placement programmes is certainly worth some serious consideration.
What stories do you have to share about industrial placements? Do you need some reassurance on how a placement programme could work for you? We have some great case studies to share with you – get in touch