Catch Your 2024 Graduate Intake Before They Fall!

At this time of year graduate recruiters might be feeling frazzled by career fair, interview, and assessment overload as they work tirelessly to meet 2024 intake targets.  It is a busy but rewarding time as you make an impact and change the lives and trajectories of the graduates who are destined to join your business in 2024.  You have worked hard to secure young talent and you don’t want to disappoint or lose them.  So, what should you expect and how can you prepare the business to nurture your graduate intake?

SAGEA’s Candidate Insights Benchmark was conducted among 2 400+ recent graduates who joined the world of work early in 2023.  Apart from understanding their job search preferences and processes, we also delved into how young talent are adapting to the world of work and what they find challenging.

Key Challenges and Concerns Of Today’s Young Talent

The dominant concerns of young people entering the world of work are around their mental health and wellbeing and financial management, with more than half of respondents highlighting this.  They are just as concerned about building a social life.  Having the time to build a social network and stay fit and healthy are major contributors to wellbeing.  Our research also revealed an increase in the number of young people who actively seek out roles that offer flexible working options – this grew from 43% to 50% between 2022 and 2023.  This is not necessarily because they want to work from home but is, perhaps, driven by the desire to maintain a balanced lifestyle which will enable improved wellbeing.

Financial stress is one of the worst detractors from mental wellbeing, so assisting your graduates with budgeting and financial management will create a win-win situation.  With many graduate roles based in Gauteng, some students will need to relocate – and this comes with its own set of challenges.  Affordable accommodation is usually located far from the Sandton business district and landlords require one, if not two months’ rent as a deposit.  Then there is the need for furniture and possibly an investment in suitable work attire.  It is ALOT!  With many of today’s graduates being “first in family”, they do not necessarily have parents who are able to give them a leg up financially.  Spell out what monthly deductions your graduates can expect and what their nett salary will amount to – and bring in experts who can help young people to budget and manage their finances. 

Support Networks

Providing the right support networks for young people makes an enormous difference to their transition to the world of work.  Our survey tells us that they respond well to support with 70% indicating that they found the support from their line manager very useful.  Invest in workshops to prepare your line managers and sensitise them to the special needs of graduates, giving them the tools and skills they need to do this really well! 

Given graduate concerns about building a social life and network, this is also something you should pay attention to.  On-Boarding often starts with a bang, including plenty of fun social activities – but what happens after that?  Consider monthly get-togethers, check ins and social activities to keep the momentum going.

Keep The Courtship Alive!

Unfortunately, there has been a significant increase in the number of candidates who renege on an offer they initially accepted.  20% of candidates reneged on offers in 2022, compared to 17% in 2021 and 13% in 2022.  Although our research did not include a deep dive into the reasons for this, anecdotal evidence suggests that graduates will move if they receive an offer that provides better or market-related remuneration or a permanent role that offers greater security. 

It is critically important to keep the communication lines open with candidates while they are engaged in your selection process and, especially after they have accepted an offer.  Use tech to create communities that allow for seamless connections, include your signed up grads in office functions and activities, keep in regular contact and share tips and information that will help them prepare for the world of work.  This might help to mitigate reneges. 

Deliver On Your Promises

When graduates are considering where to apply, 90% are influenced by the training and development they will receive.  Your training and development proposition is just as important as your EVP and this will be a key expectation early on in their journey with you.  Share as much information about training and development plans as you can, early on!

Whilst you have worked hard to secure your graduates, many of them have invested time and energy in seeking you out as their ideal employer and, remember, they will have been exposed to other organisations during their job search.  Understanding their challenges, areas of concern and pre-empting these will enable you to catch them before they fall.