The release of the Times Top 100 Graduate Employers will have seen many of them raising a glass in celebration. PwC topped the list for an exceptional eighth year running, Nestle moved up 44 places and there’s a number of new entrants in the lower echelons.
Once again students were asked ‘Which employer do you think offers the best opportunities for graduates?’ – so it’s simply a question of perception. Last year, Apple swooped straight in at number 53 and this year jumped to 27, but is this because of a strong recruitment message or its position as the world’s most valuable brand (according to the Global 500)?
The High-Flyer Season, between February and March, sees a peak in big bang campus interaction for employers as the Times Top 100 survey begins to circulate. The flurry of activity obviously brings cleverly-marketed brands to the forefront of students’ minds, which begs the question – if the survey was conducted at random times throughout the year would we get the same results? And as more employers recognise the importance of targeting the early years, we think there is value in gathering the views of first and second years as well as final year students.
Many of the Times Top 10 are leading brands that focus their activity on top-tier university campuses. But are they missing out? The talent pool in universities outside the top tier offer a less-tapped source that might ultimately bring fresh perspectives, expertise and diversity to an organisation.
Around 60,000 copies of the Times Top 100 directory are distributed each year. And thousands of students register with the website, making this a strong brand-building exercise that could sway wavering minds. But what about the many organisations outside the list? There are other valuable ranking systems, which take a more detailed look at students’ expectations and their foreknowledge of employers. Most students aren’t concerned or experienced enough to question the methodology behind how each ranking is compiled — they just look at the results. It would be interesting to see which rankings are seen as the most valuable amongst the student and graduate populations.
Today, many organisations’ biggest challenge is often not filling places but attracting quality applicants in the first place. To do this, a strategic, long-term approach is crucial.
Organisations must attract and retain the talent they need to meet their goals. We recommend consistent on-campus activity throughout the academic year, which focuses on educating students about the organisation and its expectations of employees. One of the ways to do this is by building relationships with key stakeholders in HE, to ensure that as many on-campus touch points as possible are covered.
We look at who an employer is trying to attract and then develop the best possible solution that considers the what, when and how, so that we can find innovative ways of targeting within a broader future talent pool. We are currently helping Enterprise-Rent-A-Car’s regional recruiters by running workshops which equip them with the right tools to work effectively on campus and as such result in ROI for them as a business.
Attracting graduates that fit your business strategy means you’ll work smarter as an organisation and perform better through your people.