In a survey of its membership, the Institute of Student Employers has found that the majority of the UK’s top graduate employers have stabilized or increased recruitment in 2021. This follows a spring hiring season in 2020 which saw numerous employers scale back graduate recruitment, leaving numerous young workers unemployed.
The survey of 135 student employers - including many of the largest employers in the UK - found that almost a third (31%) are increasing school graduate recruitment from last year, and 57% are hiring the same number. 16% said they were cutting graduate recruitment – down from 44% that said they had reduced graduate recruitment last year because of the pandemic.
Internships are stabilizing, as well, with 56% of employers recruiting the same number of interns as last year, and 24% are hiring more. Only a fifth have cut opportunities this year, compared to the 38% in 2020.
Recruitment processes and onboarding are changing. Employers were asked how interviews, assessments, and work experience, would be be impacted, with the majority responding that a hybrid, rather than fully online or fully face-to-face, was the planned approach.
According to a statement from Stephen Isherwood, Chief Executive at the ISE: “Employers are optimistic that we’re reaching the end of the pandemic, but not that the economic crisis is over. However, early indicators show that the market is on the upturn and there will be more employment opportunities for young people this year. Whilst the jobs market remains tough, students need to keep working on their skills and engaging with employers.
“Student recruitment and development will operate differently. Two years ago the majority of how we recruited and developed young people was largely in person and nobody is talking about going back to this. The crisis has forced more employers to adopt technology and we’re already seeing a more permanent shift to online and blended techniques as they realise the benefits. People are looking for new and different models rather than reverting to what they know.”
Sign up to get our monthly newsletter and updates about RNN.