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    The competition for top graduate talent has never been higher. According to a new report, The Must-Know Student Recruitment Trends in the UK for 2019 candidates on average, apply for graduate schemes with 29 different UK employers. As a result the number of applicants per graduate scheme has reached an all-time high with companies within the financial and professional services sectors having to deal with over 250,000 applications and other sectors typically receiving applications from 50,000 graduates.

    The new study reviewed anonymous application data from 3.8 million candidates applying to graduate programmes across the finance, government, professional services, advertising, engineering and retail industries*.

    According to the report competition is not just tougher for the recruiter, but also the candidate. Three quarters of students are interested in graduate programmes but only one per cent of graduates applying for schemes within finance, advertising and professional services and major retailers were hired in 2018, falling from two per cent the previous year.

    These falls can in part be attributed to the fact that 2017 saw the first drop in graduate recruitment in five years (4.9 per cent) and the biggest since 2009. With fewer graduate jobs to go for, graduates are applying for more than twice as many positions compared with 10 years ago in the hope of increasing their chances of being hired.

    However graduate recruiters are making gains in other areas. The gender gap has closed significantly – 58 per cent of all graduate scheme hires were male versus 42 per cent female in 2018. This compares to 69 per cent male and 31 per cent female the previous year. The public sector is the best performer, achieving 50/50 gender equality. The engineering, retail and advertising sectors are still struggling with gender bias – with 70 per cent of graduate scheme places going to men.

    Race equality has also improved, with the proportion of black candidates being hired doubling over the past 12 months. However, this group does still only accounts for six per cent of total hires. Asian applicants also saw a rise in hire rates in 2018, increasing from 13 per cent to 16 per cent.

     

    Guest Blog by Anthony Sherick, Director of Technojobs

    The past twelve months saw a significant amount of change in the recruitment sector, and now, more than ever before, its key that recruitment leaders are aware of the trends that will impact the local, and global recruitment markets. So, what are the trends that will shape the recruitment sector in 2019?

    Diversity

    As candidates and employers become acutely aware of subconscious bias and gender coded language, increased diversity attraction and training are becoming key focuses for HR teams. Fostering workplace diversity makes business sense for all employers as they realise the importance of addressing these biases in the recruitment process. As such, many will invest heavily in 2019 to ensure they have diversity practices in place and that their employer brand is inclusive to all.

    HR Tech thrives and evolves

    Over the last year we’ve seen far greater adoption of new HR tech than ever before, and the technology will only improve over the course of 2019. As the platforms available to in-house teams become even more sophisticated, incorporating new technologies such as AI, Chatbots, and machine learning, the benefits of investing into new technology will become increasingly evident. These systems also lend themselves to data driven recruitment practices, and allow HR times to evaluate and improve the hiring process.

    Blockchain makes its mark

    Blockchain was one of the most talked about technologies in 2018, but this year will see the technology – which underpins cryptocurrencies like Bitcoin – make its mark on the recruitment sector. This year we begin to see new applications for the technology gain traction such as blockchain verified CVs. Verified CVs, or ‘Intelligent Profiles’ store every aspect of a career profile on a blockchain making the CV verified at the beginning of the hiring process for employers.

    Employer branding is crucial

    How best to attract passive candidates is a reoccurring topic of conversation among HR teams and recruitment leaders, and as we look to 2019, employer branding will be invaluable. Cultivating a strong employer brand is no longer a ‘nicety’ but an absolute necessity. Recruiters and in-house teams both need to expand the number of channels to promote company culture; employee advocacy to target candidates – potentially before they’ve even started searching for a new role.

    Targeted candidate attraction

    As the digital skills gap widens in a number of sectors, sourcing the right candidate for a role can become incredibly difficult. Recruiters and HR teams looking to find the best candidates with the right skillsets will need to target previously untapped niche communities. New entrants including Facebook and Google, have realised the opportunity of using their reach for hiring. Niche jobsites that attract specific communities will continue to offer targeted value.

    The gig economy expands

    In recent years the gig economy has altered the nature of the recruitment market, with 1.1 million people in the UK now ‘employed’ within the gig economy – nearly as many people as who work for the NHS. HR teams will have to look for new ways to attract candidates with vastly different job profiles, skillsets and, experience, to other potential candidates.

    Compliance is key

    As GDPR enters force in May 2018, organisations across Europe, and the rest of the globe, will have to comply with stricter data privacy laws – more than ever before. The fragmented nature of the recruitment sector in the UK means that often candidate’s personal data is passed between multiple parties during the hiring process. Recruitment companies will have to work on best practice to ensure they comply with the new law, and it will be interesting to see how the industry works together to implement these new practices. One thing is certain – candidate transparency will be essential.

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