Is there recovery in sight for graduate recruitment?

Many organisations make concerted efforts to hire the brightest and most talented graduates – however, what has the outlook been like over the past year?

According to the Graduate Outlook 2013 survey by Graduate Careers Australia (GCA), many firms are still feeling the lingering grip of the global financial crisis. In fact, the recruitment and selection of graduates last year was at the lowest level since GCA began running the annual survey almost a decade ago.

Almost one in five (19.3 per cent) of the 484 employers surveyed said that they did not hire any graduates at all last year. This is the highest proportion recorded since the first survey in 2005, and a sharp rise of 6.8 per cent from the reading in 2012.

It is not surprising, then, that the proportion of companies that recruited between one and 20 graduates decreased between 2012 and 2013. While almost two-thirds (65.4 per cent) of employers hired at least graduate in 2012, this figure dropped to 57.8 per cent last year.

When asked about the reasons they were cutting back on graduate hiring, it was clear that monetary factors were a major roadblock to recruiting these candidates. More than a third (34.9 per cent) cited 'economic conditions' as the key issue affecting their graduate recruitment, while over a quarter (26.4 per cent) pointed to 'budgetary constraints' as the main reason.

However, there were also indications that the calibre of the graduate candidate pool was not at the level expected by today's employers. One in five (19.5 per cent) said that the lack of 'quality, experience and skill' of graduates was turning them away from hiring them.

Regardless of your organisation's individual recruitment strategies, it's worth taking a look at the unique benefits and qualities that graduates can bring. In addition, making use of tools such as the graduate talent assessment can help you develop their leadership skills once you've made the hiring decision.