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We Must Fight to Keep Young Talent in Yorkshire - The Yorkshire Post

 28th Apr 2020

By Melanie Parker for The Yorkshire Post, originally published: 9th April 2020.

Spare our students and graduates a thought. The class of 2020 from our region’s universities are facing tough times.

They are leaving university with cancelled graduation ceremonies and a downturn in Graduate vacancies and if they are still at University postponed internships and placement opportunities.

There is a sense of loss, Graduates are fearing for their future, many heartbroken about not being able to celebrate their achievements with their friends and families. In what should be the most joyous of occasions.
Our university’s host in large numbers both home and international students, I fear for our students who will have I am sure in the main lost their part-time roles in hospitality and retail and those in the gig economy whilst social distancing measures are in place and all pubs and restaurants remain shut.
What impact is this going to have for the recruitment targets of international students and home students in the future? Universities could lose millions in cancelled enrolments and the UK economy when we do return to normal could lose millions of pounds in lost revenue on accommodation and entertainment whilst also seriously diluting our talent pools for the future.

The Global HE sector is looking to capitalise on growth and the fact that the movement of people between countries for education will be hit we could experience dwindling numbers here as families consider health security as part of the criteria, which in part is also the consideration on how well they feel a country has responded to the coronavirus. In my opinion, we will desperately need graduate talent to help rebuild our economy once we get past the coronavirus and those who can respond quickly will futureproof their businesses growth and accelerated recovery.
In our cities we have been trying our best over the last decade or so to stop the brain drain by losing our talent to other cities and countries this will be under attack more than ever, I feel we must do all we can to focus on retaining the talent we have and hire it. We could be faced in the next 5 years with a downturn in graduate talent if they choose to study in other countries rather than continue in the large numbers they have previously to study in the UK.
Given the uncharted territory we are facing with Coronavirus and an uncertain recovery of the job markets companies are being forced to reduce their graduate recruitment programmes the  ISE Institute of Student employers are reporting a 27% reduction in graduate hires.
However, having worked in Graduate and early careers for over 25 years this is a moment to pause and rethink strategies. Companies routinely spend a lot of money on Graduate attraction and competition is tough for brands to get the top talent, so there is a competitive advantage if you can still continue with your recruitment drives, at worst maybe consider reducing numbers in the face of the significant downturn we are facing but I would not withdraw completely from the considered efforts already made, It will cost businesses more in the long term and damage their ability to recover from this in the short term.
I understand that whilst costs need to be low and all potential spend considered a slowdown in efforts to find hire and retain graduate talent could lead to significant damage in future cycles if they stopped hiring Whether your company hires 100s or graduates or just 1 suspending any efforts will have a detrimental effect in the long term.

Graduates will expect some delay to the hiring process and a change in format with many companies using video interviewing and remote onboarding but graduates are already digital natives and are noticeably comfortable using technology solutions and working remotely so surly at times like this where we need fresh perspectives this could prove incredibly useful.

Businesses could gain new hires who could make a difference immediately and for a lot of graduate’s money is not always the prime motivator, they hold other workplace and learning experiences above salary.

Graduates are adaptable motivated and usually, inexpensive continuing to hire recent graduates could, in fact, be THE solution to a swifter recovery.



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