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Could Learning & Development Fix UK’s Graduate Job Market?

10 November 2017
Besma Whayeb
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Could Learning & Development Fix UK’s Graduate Job Market? | In Demand by AdView

With average debts of £50,800 and a declining number of graduate jobs on offer, students that left University this summer don’t have much to look forward to. However, companies can employment a more attractive prospect by rethinking their approach to graduate hiring.

What Do Graduates Want?

Analysis from The Times found that two in five of the UK’s biggest companies are cutting the number of graduates they recruit due to concerns over Brexit negotiations, economic uncertainty and pressure to take on more school-leavers. Meanwhile, The Independent said that graduates are taking fewer jobs in big companies and instead choosing to start their own company.

There appears to be a disconnect between what graduates and companies are looking for in a role. Companies want to attract graduates who quickly add value to their business, while graduates want the rewards that come with starting their own company.

With an effective learning and development scheme, companies can ensure that both sides are happy. For instance, by breaking the graduate courses up into a more self-directed, modular approach, companies can appeal to a generation that’s bringing a new set of assumptions to the workplace.

Should Graduate Schemes Be A Thing of The Past?

It’s about time we rethought the graduate scheme. They were initially designed for graduates to enter in their early twenties and leave as a retiree, but now people are much more likely to have several jobs throughout their lifetime. The rise of the gig economy has meant it’s already popular to hold several jobs at one time.

The shift in attitude is causing companies and graduates to grapple with the composition of a graduate scheme. With the average time a millennial spends at an organisation now at just three years, those with itchy feet are likely to leave their employer almost as soon as their grad scheme has wrapped up. Understandably, it’s difficult for companies to justify the expense of training individuals for a lifelong career if they’re expected to search for new roles.

Birth of the “Intra-preneur”

However, by offering constant opportunities for development within the job, and the opportunity to be “intra-preneurial”, companies can help satisfy employees’ desire to grow, take on new skills and even take risks that are likely to benefit the business. For this to happen, hiring managers and HR departments must make individuals the focus of their hiring drives, rather than the course itself.

Flexibility to different graduates’ approaches is key. For example, if certain graduates feel they want to accelerate their development with extra courses, they should have the option to do just that. The company should exist to help the individual become motivated to meet their own goals, as well as the goals held by the business.

The Role of Technology

While tailoring courses to different individuals might have seemed like an colossal task just a few years ago, smart technology enables companies operate several hundred different training schemes at once, all from individuals’ mobile phones. As AI becomes accessible through phones’ chipsets, the option to tailor courses to individuals’ learning styles will rapidly improve.

With a recent report highlighting that most student loans will take between 40-50 years to pay off, graduates are eager to understand how their day-to-day tasks will inform into their long-term future, and expect continuous development and training to help answer these difficult questions.