Graduate Trainee Recruitment

Sunday, August 23rd, 2009 - career management, Degree, economics, Employment, job hunting, job search, Professional CV, Qualifications, recruitment, unemployment


Graduate Trainee Recruitment

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The life blood of economics and industry is – people. Unfortunately, as people both get older, get ambitious – and in part by a process where by organisations re-brand people as “staff” – in most organisations, there is a continual need to replace and add to people numbers. This is termed recruitment.

When faced with large and growing competition, and the simple fact that self-trained people stay longer than hired hand staff, the advantages of Graduate Trainee Recruitment are clear and obvious. The organisation gets an intelligent and young person, which even including the high cost of bespoke training at around three times salary, will stay longer and add greater competitiveness

Strategic Recruitment

The greatest task an HR department has, is then blending the young self-trained people with the existing people resources. Get it right, and companies don’t just survive, they thrive. Get it wrong, and there are though times ahead, such as when highs of experienced people leave, or technology changes bring about a need in the level of skills. But the aim of the HR department is to provide a continual flow of skills along and through the organisation, to enable it to compete.

Imagine then the number of HR Directors this year, faced with a note from their CEO which says: “No graduate Trainee Recruitment this year.” There they were a few years ago faced with a scraping for a few graduates from a former polytechnic, and now having reviewed a few Oxford and Cambridge University CV‘s, will now have to say no to people who could have been recruited for 10% less. Think also of that HR Director looking forward at the diminishing western world birth rate, which in a few years time will mean that there will not be enough young people coming out of universities to fulfil even basic company people needs, let alone those to compete. If they could recruit them then, they will cost double what they would train for today.

Recruitment – feast or famine?

In my own career, I have seen the feast and famine HR approach to Graduate Recruitment. I came into BT – an organisation which this year has imposed its own Graduate Recruitment freeze for 2010’s intake – as one of 32 apprentices in Gloucester. When we finished out training some three years later, there was no need for all these trainee’s, as someone seven years previously had started an experiment to install fully electronic telephone exchanges, which need around 1/3rd of the staff. I hence ended up driving a little yellow van around the Cotswolds, a good experience but one which when I got itchy and ambitious feet lead to me attending college in South Wales for four years. On my return, the lack of talent being offered to the companies internal groups meant there was a high level of internal competition for graduates, resulting in variation in base wage between what I left BT for some four years before to manage 120 people, to the one which I took which doubled that wage and added a car and a cellphone: guess which one I took? When I spoke to the manager of the district I turned down in explaining my reasoning, he agreed: his view was, as they had stopped the apprentice intake some six years previously, there was now a skills shortage and problematic age gap appearing. As a result, I looked at BT’s people intake, and he was right: every five to seven years, there would be a stop on apprentice intake. Then, between two and three years later, there would be quick and fsat reimplementation of the scheme, creating clear peaks and troughs in staff age – which then perpetuated, with the economic cycles, the need for more peaks and troughs.

Graduate Recruitment Jobs

What I can’t understand at the moment, given a number of short term pressures on graduates and long term birth rates, why companies are not hiring graduates this year? Yes, it may save money, but it doesn’t save the company. For instance, a graduate management trainee taken into the retail sector would spend some time at Head Office doing the rounds of departments, before being sent to the shop floor for a 12months period. If you look at most staff intake and awareness programmes, all follow a similar pattern, but some spend less time doing some items and more doing others – graduates get walked around head office, floor employees tromp around the shop. As graduates are faced with record debt levels, they will take almost any job over the dole cue. So, why don’t intelligent companies say to graduates:

Look, here is our graduate trainee programme. We are not signing you up as a graduate trainee, but what we are going to do is effectively give you the first year and pay you like a shop floor worker. You perform on the shop floor, and at the end of year1 you can come onto year2 of our graduate management trainee scheme.

I bet, this would result in a rush of cheap employed graduates who would love the opportunity: much like bagging good future people now, who will stay longer through thanks for the opportunity now. Will there be a turnover of these graduates? Yes, as different sectors come up at different speeds, other organisations will require graduate trainees sooner over others. But compared to the average shop worker, if a graduate felt that your organisation was the right one for them, and acknowledging that they took any opportunity with you over no opportunity, then the staff turnover rate will be lower than recruiting for the average non-graduate shop worker

Pity that closed minded “turn off the tap” thinking will result in a few years time of skills shortages. Companies and HR teams: Don’t turn off the water and dehydrate later, just bottle it in different ways!

Good Luck!

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