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ISE Conference 2022 Roundup

Graduate RecruitmentStudent Recruitment

The Early Talent industry had their first in-person annual get together at The Grand in Brighton on 28-27th June. Over two days there were 400 attendees and 250 joining virtually to get their finger back on the pulse of what is happening right now in Early Careers.


GRB have been Institute of Student Employers (ISE) members for 20 years and to have the conference on our door step was a bonus but we were especially proud to take to the stage with Ambitious About Autism and share their story and hear from Joe who has been through the programme.


It was wonderful to raise awareness of this superb initiative with ISE members and the feedback has been lovely. I can share the slides for those who are interested. I’d also like to share my main takeaways from the event for our clients and friends that couldn’t attend.

1.    Choose 100% virtual with caution. The resounding message was yes whilst virtual recruitment methods and working remotely are here to stay, graduates are desperate for as much in-person contact as possible. This problem is made worse by “digital poverty” with more youngsters than you may think with access challenges. I strongly urge employers to think carefully how they use technology and how this can positively AND negatively impact your new graduate intake.

2.    The talent shortage is here to stay for at least 10 years. Probably NOT what you want to hear right now but through a combination of underlying demographic factors, consequences of Brexit and the effects of the pandemic, attracting graduate talent will continue to be very challenging. There are 600,000 – 1,000,000 fewer people in the UK labour market than anticipated according to ONS. Reasons being that many have retired, are resting on savings, changing to part-time work, are ill (long Covid), caring for people or life changers. This came from the top from no other than the CEO of REC, Neil Carberry, who knows the market inside out. If I get the recording of his keynote talk I will share it with you.

3.    Some quickfire stats that caught my eye, things I overheard and trending discussion topics in the conference app.

  • HESA reported an increase in the number of students at University.
  • Science and R&D is the top industry choice for grads (normally it’s the Public Sector).
  • “Persuading the C-suite is essential before embarking on diversity change within your organisation.”
  • 9.5% of HR professionals come from an ethnic minority background. Quite shocking that one.
  • 42% of students feel unprepared to enter the professional world.
  • 51% felt they had missed out on key development opportunities
  • Pay AND Conditions will secure your next hire. Top one being flexible working.
  • The top reason that stops Early Careers teams using AI was “business readiness”.
  • Most liked breakout session topic was “ What are the true success measures of Early Talent programmes and how can businesses deliver on them?”
  • Most questions posted in a breakout session was 27 for the “ISE D&I Steering Group: Calling in our profession – time for change.” 
  • “Lecturers are finding that their job role is changing to deal with students mental health issues and it’s causing friction.”
  • Civil Service Fast Stream gave a great talk on how they utilise internship programmes focused on D&I initiatives to provide diverse pipeline for future graduate intakes.
  • Only 18% of young workers strongly agree they are living their purpose at work. Bit sad this stat.
  • Young workers want to see that their employers are good corporate citizens, with the top factors being employee wellbeing, D&I and having a social or environmental impact.
  • Gen Z are increasingly using social media within their job search. Less-so for finding opportunities but to gain an insight into company culture and “put a face to a brand”. 

#iserec22 #earlytalent #employment 

Dan Hawes is the Co-Founder of the GRB Group. He hopes to enlighten students, graduates and employers with his wisdom from over 25 years in the industry.

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