Candidate Compass Report 2020 - In partnership with - Milkround

Candidate Compass Report 2020 - In partnership with - Milkround
Candidate Compass Report 2020

        In partnership with
Candidate Compass Report 2020 - In partnership with - Milkround
 Introduction                    3

 •   Key findings                7

 •   Market overview0119

 •   Candidate overview011

 Graduating amidst uncertainty   13

 Diversity and inclusion         15

 Recruitment                     23

 Retention                       27

 Future-proofing the workforce   31

 Executive summary               33

Candidate Compass Report 2020 - In partnership with - Milkround
Welcome to Milkround’s Candidate Compass 2020,          remote-working from home and the nation continued
which comes at an incredibly poignant moment for        to follow strict Government guidelines on social-
UK students, graduates and businesses. Since 2012,      distancing measures.
Milkround has been sharing original insights in order
                                                        As a result, graduates have already experienced
to help businesses and recruiters understand the
                                                        disruption in their last few months of university with
work behaviours and preferences of today’s younger
                                                        learning, lectures, events and even graduation
                                                        ceremonies being moved online, rescheduled or
Last year, we found the general outlook amongst         cancelled completely. This has left students in an
students and graduates was confidence in the UK jobs    unknown state of limbo, with many understandably
market and excitement as they entered the workplace     feeling nervous or concerned about entering the
and started their careers. Now, more than ever, it is   challenging and ever-changing world of work.
important to review how this compares one year on
                                                        Despite such circumstances, we are pleased to
and what factors have influenced these impressions
                                                        present this year’s findings and remain committed
over the last 12 months.
                                                        to supporting students, graduates and businesses
At the time of running our research this year, the      across the UK to navigate the current graduate
country had been in extended lockdown for nearly two    job market, throughout this unprecedented year
months, the majority of workforces had to adapt to      and beyond.

Candidate Compass Report 2020 - In partnership with - Milkround
We are proud to partner with global employer branding specialist Universum on this research. Since 1998,
Universum have been supporting employers through delivering talent market insights, encouraging them to set
organisational goals and objectives, over one million students and professionals across the globe participating in
their annual employer branding research. Building on this fantastic relationship in previous years, Universum have
supported Milkround to develop the survey and offer advice to current employers throughout this report.

Candidate Compass Report 2020 - In partnership with - Milkround
Methodology and respondents                              Gender split

Milkround’s Candidate Compass Report was
conducted with a survey sample of 2,838 candidates                                                1%
between 14th – 29th April 2020.                             1%
As more students and graduates of Gen-Z – those
born between 1995 and 2012 – enter the workforce,
we undertook this research to find out their thoughts
and feelings regarding their future careers. Surveying
students, graduates and young professionals across
the country and from all different backgrounds, we’ve
looked to determine their wants, needs and concerns
to highlight what sets them apart from the generations
before them.
In turn, we hope this report offers valuable insights
to employers on how to shape their recruitment
and retention strategies, to meet the needs of a
new generation of jobseekers and future-proof their         Males         Females         Non-binary
companies and industries, on a macro-level.
                                                            Prefer not to say

Candidate Compass Report 2020 - In partnership with - Milkround
Graduation year                                             Age split (year of birth)

2018         4%                                             2001                          12%

2019                   10%                                  2000                                   19%

2020                                       25%              1999                                  18%

2021                                      23%               1998                                 17%

2022                                      24%               1997                           13%

2023                   10%                                  1996                8%

2024              3%                                        1995          5%

Other             2%                                        Other               8%

Most popular course subjects

Business and management studies                                                      7%

                             Psychology                                              7%

                  Biological sciences                                      6%

                                   Law                               5%

                        Art and design                 3%


                  Asian/Asian British       12%

   Black /African/Caribbean British              6%

        Mixed/Multiple ethnic groups             5%

                                  White                                              73%

Free school meals

        Received Free School Meals               16%

Did not receive Free School Meals                                                          80%

Candidate Compass Report 2020 - In partnership with - Milkround
Key findings

           2019                Vs                    2020

                   The percentage of respondents
  83%              who believe that they will work
                   in their dream industry

                   The percentage of

  79%                                                       66%
                   respondents who believe
                   there are more career
                   opportunities in London

                   The percentage of respondents
  34%              who reported experiencing
                   poor mental health

  14%                                                       12%
  Media and                                             Medical and
  Publishing                                          Pharmaceutical

  12%              The top three sectors which
                   respondents would prefer
  Medical and                                           Science and
                   to work in
  Pharmaceutical                                          Research

  7%                                                        10%
  Education and                                           Media and
  Training                                                Publishing

Candidate Compass Report 2020 - In partnership with - Milkround
2019               Vs                2020

78%                                                   81%
Great team                                         Great team

70%              The top three factors which
                 respondents feel would               74%
Interesting                                     Great manager
                 encourage productivity in
                 the workplace

68%                                                   Flexible
Great manager                                         working

50%                                                   66%
Salary                                                  Salary

49%              The top three factors                55%
                 which attract candidates to          Location
                 apply for roles

44%                                                   55%
Learning and                                           Career
development                                       progression
opportunities                                    opportunities

Candidate Compass Report 2020 - In partnership with - Milkround
Market overview
It’s not all doom and gloom in the current climate,    When broken-down, this year’s most popular dream
as today’s and students and graduates remain           companies remain unchanged from last year, with the
largely optimistic about the jobs market, with 66%     NHS, Google and self-employed coming out on top.
of respondents saying they feel positive about their   Looking in more detail at NHS roles, one area which
future career prospects. Despite disruption to the     has seen a particular surge in interest is nursing, as
market, 62% of students and graduates believe          NHS England reports a rise of 220% in the number
that they will work in their dream industry. This is   of people that clicked on the nursing pages of the
reassuring, however looking at the year-on-year        NHS health careers website between 16th March and
comparison, this has fallen from 83% in last year’s    15th April compared to the same period last year.i
Candidate Compass, suggesting that the impact          This increased interest in nursing roles suggests that
of wider economic turbulence such as the fallout       people may be motivated by changing perceptions
of Brexit and Covid-19, may have impacted overall      of the NHS this year, as they continue to underpin
graduate confidence.                                   support of the entire country amidst Covid-19.

               The NHS is one of the largest employers in the world and NHS Jobs
               is used by all NHS organisations in England and Wales to advertise.
      This includes organisations such as hospitals, charities, GPs and other
      NHS healthcare providers ranging from two-three to many thousands of
      Recently NHS ‘frontline roles’ have received much focus during the Covid-19
      crisis, but there are also a wide range of other careers within the NHS. It’s
      great to see a clear desire from recent cohorts of students and graduates
      that they see a future with the NHS. Whether it be one that is traditionally
      associated with the NHS, or within areas such as finance, IT, policy and
      administration, estates management and healthcare and diagnostic sciences.

      James Jackson,
      NHS Jobs Service Manager at Totaljobs group

Building on last year’s popularity, Medical and          of respondents voted start-up as their ideal company
Pharmaceutical is this year’s student and graduates’     type, which could be due to the unpredictable
preferred sector, with 12% of respondents voting it as   nature for new businesses at this time of economic
the sector they hope to work in, followed by Science     uncertainty.
and Research (11%) and Media and Publishing
                                                         When it comes to securing their first graduate role,
(10%). In addition, Sales and Consumer Goods
                                                         on average, 7% of this year’s current students
continue to attract low numbers of candidates, with
                                                         have already secured their first job, excluding those
less than 1% of respondents choosing them as
                                                         graduating this year. This is in line with 2019’s
their preferred sectors this year. Employers in these
                                                         Candidate Compass, which revealed that 9% of last
sectors should work on their employer branding to
                                                         year’s student respondents had secured a graduate
combat these negative perceptions and highlight their
                                                         role at this point in the year. When comparing final
company’s wider values, such as CSR schemes and
                                                         year students, just 13% of the class of 2020 have
sustainability initiatives.
                                                         secured a graduate position, compared to 17% of
Large corporations are seen as the preferred             the class of 2019, revealing the challenge facing this
company size, with 37% of respondents saying they        years graduates in entering the current jobs market.
work, or intend to work, at this type of company. This   Despite this, respondents in 2020 remain optimistic
may be due to large companies beginning to offer         about their job prospects, as 67% believe that they will
more flexibility in their graduate roles, while also     secure their first role within six months of graduating.
providing higher levels of job security compared to      This is a 17% increase in the number of respondents
smaller companies. SME was voted second (32%),           who believed they would secure a role in this time in
followed by a global company (26%). Notably, only 6%     2019’s Candidate Compass.

Candidate Overview
Looking closer at individuals’ motivations and views
                                                          Location, location, location
towards university; half (50%) of respondents
considered alternatives to university, with almost
a quarter (23%) considering apprenticeships and           In terms of job location, respondents are flexible
one in ten (11%) degree apprenticeships. This is a        in their job hunt, as almost one in five (18%) are
dramatic increase compared to last year’s Candidate       willing to relocate in order to access the best jobs.
Compass, as only 13% of respondents considered            Two thirds of respondents (66%) feel that there are
apprenticeships and 5% degree apprenticeships. This       more graduate job opportunities based in London,
growing interest in university alternatives bodes well    suggesting that the UK’s graduate jobs market is
for the Government’s new T Levels scheme, which is        still perceived to be fairly centralised. However, this
set to launch in September, and will offer students a     is a decrease from 79% holding this view in 2019’s
mixture of classroom learning and industry experience     Candidate Compass suggesting that students are
to open the door into skilled employment, further study   beginning to see more opportunities arise outside of
or a higher apprenticeship.                               the capital.

As more employers begin to remove minimum                 Only 29% are currently working or looking to work in
requirements from their entry-level roles, university     London, suggesting that factors such as rising rental
alternatives should be de-mystified and employers         costs may be putting graduates off making the move
should ensure their recruitment specifications are        straight out of university. Moreover, 8% of respondents
clear. While 38% of respondents said that their future    are working or looking to work outside of the UK.
career prospects required a degree, this may indicate     The top motivating factors for job location were
a wider lack of awareness about alternatives to the       access to the best jobs (47%), to be near family (44%)
traditional university route.                             and affordable living costs (29%). Access to culture,
                                                          arts and entertainment also ranked highly, with 24% of
                                                          respondents saying that this would impact their choice
                                                          of job location, suggesting that today’s students and
                                                          graduates are placing a higher priority and considering
                                                          their work-life balance, at the start of their careers.

Where respondents are working/looking to work upon graduation

      4% Scotland                                                2% North East

7% North West                                                             5% Yorkshire

                                                                            5% East Midlands

5% West Midlands                                                                            3% East Anglia

      2% Wales                                                                                      29% London

6% South West                                                                                5% South East

3%                                       5%                                       18%
Europe (outside the UK)                  Rest of the world                        Willing to relocate

Sustainability matters
Expectations are increasingly high from new                  Lush, who have focused their efforts on building
graduates when it comes to their view of what makes          environmentally conscious brands, continue to attract
up a dream job. Almost two thirds (59%) of 2020              young talent to their business and drive excellent
students and graduates said that they would consider         brand values and awareness. In addition, brands like
how sustainable a company was before applying.               Innocent feature their focus on sustainability initiatives
                                                             as a core part of their marketing messaging, aimed at
Employers should therefore ensure that their
                                                             both customers and employees.
sustainability initiatives are clear, concise and
highlighted to graduates in order to appeal to a wider
pool of candidates. Companies, such as Leon and

Graduating amidst

Covid-19 causes graduates job
                                                          Companies continue to hire
This time last year the political wake and fallout of
Brexit was on everyone’s minds. Since then, however,      Understandably, the situation around Covid-19 is
Covid-19 has become the most concerning aspect for        having a knock-on effect for student and graduate
graduate career prospects. Students and graduates         confidence in the current job market. However, it is
are most worried that Covid-19 will have the greatest     important to remain positive at a time like this. Despite
negative impact on their future careers, with over half   some businesses postponing recruitment drives, the
(56%) concerned by this issue. This is higher than        Institute of Student Employers (ISE) has revealed only
Brexit (19%), climate crisis (5%) and global political    a quarter (27%) of companies will be recruiting fewer
tensions (5%) combined. Over one in ten (11%)             graduates this year, showing there is still demand.ii
believed none of these issues would impact their
future career prospects.

Consequently, nearly half (46%) believed Covid-19
has made them more likely to accept the first job               Whilst every business is facing unique
offered, in comparison to over a quarter (27%) who              challenges during this time, today’s
are unsure if this is the case. This represents a clear         graduate and apprentice hires make up
confusion amongst students and graduates to how                 the next generation of future talent,
the current situation is impacting their decisions and          who will fill critical roles in the years to
options when it comes to job offers. This is also the           come. By making informed decisions
case when it comes to accepting less money with                 now, organisations will factor in future
the data matching up exact, as 46% said they would              resourcing requirements as the economy
accept less money for their first graduate role.                recovers and ensure long-term success.
It is positive nearly three-quarters (71%) said that
Covid-19 has not impacted their decision on which
industry or sector to go into, in comparison to 12%
who said it has. Unfortunately, three fifths (60%) said
wider political, social or health uncertainty, such as
Brexit or the impact of Covid-19, has caused them
stress or anxiety.

Diversity and inclusion

Cultural pressures
In line with recent global events, diversity is high on         are feeling lonely / not making friends (40%) or not
the agenda for companies, brands and individuals                being able to afford the cost of living (35%).
in the UK and around the world. Specifically, when it
                                                                Looking into the pressures of conforming to social
comes to diversity in the workplace, employers must
                                                                culture and what students and graduates perceived
be willing to make a change.
                                                                as fitting in with company culture, 80% believe
It is clearly on the minds of students and graduates            coming from a lower socio-economic background
too. Young workers must feel comfortable and                    impacts someone’s career, in comparison to just 7%
included in today’s modern workplaces, as some of               who disagree.
the biggest concerns for graduates beginning careers

What do you perceive as the biggest barriers to ‘fitting in’ within your company culture
or that of a potential graduate employer?

                Asian/Asian British

   Black/African/Caribbean British

      Mixed/Multiple ethnic groups


     Received Free School Meals

Did not receive Free School Meals

     Not coming from a similar socio-economic background              Coming from a minority background

Disappointingly, we continue to see a gender imbalance. Nearly two fifths (38%) of female respondents, perceived
being a female in a traditionally male-dominated industry, such as tech, as a significant barrier. When we look at all
respondents, a quarter (25%) stated that not coming from a similar socio-economic background to peers is seen as
a barrier to fitting in within company culture.

These findings show a clear call for employers to take steps to not only consider their diversity and inclusion
strategy, but ensure that it is effectively communicated internally and externally, with the buy-in and input from
current employees being pivotal. Looking to the expectations of the future workforce, over half (51%) of students
and graduates believe one of the best ways to tackle this is blind recruitment, to demonstrate a company’s
commitment to deliver a diverse workforce. Respondents also called for living-wage salaries for graduate-level
workers (48%), financial support with travel (44%) and flexible working opportunities (35%).

What do you feel an employer could do to show they are attracting a diverse workforce?

 Offer financial support with travel

        Offer more opportunities in                                                             43%
              disadvantaged areas                                            31%

         Practice blind recruitment

         Demonstrate they have a                                                           40%
    pre-existing diverse workforce                                         29%

      Offer living-wage salaries for                                                         41%
            graduate-level workers                                                                            54%

    Asian/Asian British          Black/African/Caribbean British          Mixed/Multiple ethnic groups          White

Through adapting your recruitment, onboarding and retention strategies, you
can encourage candidates from different backgrounds to join, stay and thrive
within your company.

Six points to consider are:

1      Celebrate powerful role models within the business who embrace and empower diversity.
       You could also host insight days for potential candidates to network with these individuals
       or hold networking lunches when graduates join. This supports relationship building and
       cultivates learning

2      Encourage reverse mentoring. Pair managers with younger employees across the company
       so that they can learn from each other. Allowing those who otherwise may not connect to
       come together can be transforming for the culture of inclusion

3      Whilst you should promote case studies of diverse employees, ensure that these case
       studies are representative of your company to ensure honesty and authenticity within
       your recruitment marketing. Moreover, highlight examples of initiatives you have in place
       that promote diversity and inclusion within your company to encourage prospective
       candidates to apply

4      Consider blind recruitment. Encourage a Diversity and Inclusion expert in your org to train
       on unconscious bias, manage applications and anonymise them for the hiring manager/
       recruitment team. Be sure to communicate this process in the job description

5      Increase face-to-face and virtual engagement at diverse universities. The HEPI rankings
       indicate the most diverse universities in the UK, where you can then look to deliver
       workshops with students at these universities

6      Build a safe space for young workers to voice concerns or share any thoughts. We
       suggest creating different networks within your business for people to be able to speak
       and meet openly

Supporting graduates mental health
The transition moving from university into the           One of the biggest issues for young workers in their
workplace can be a significant challenge for a young     careers is a lack of support and understanding from
person’s mental health and wellbeing. Therefore,         employers about mental health. Alarmingly, four in
both employers and universities have an important        ten (40%) feel they could not be open about their
role to play in supporting young people experiencing     mental health with their employer, in comparison to
difficulties. It is important companies make mental      three in ten (30%) who could. As young people may
health a strategic priority, by evaluating the           feel more comfortable or willing to speak about their
concerns of the incoming workforce, opening up the       mental health with trusted friends and family, they may
conversation and encouraging employees to talk, to       not necessarily with their workplace, making it even
welcome them into the working-world, during what is      more important for employers to respond and support
a typically anxious and nerve-wracking stage of their    sensitively.
adult lives.
                                                         When asked what support respondents would
Four in ten (42%) respondents stated they have           expect from an employer, if they were to experience
previously or currently experience poor mental health,   poor mental health in the future, compassion came
an apparent increase from (34%) in 2019. This could      out top (64%), followed by flexible working around
be a direct result of Gen Z feeling they can open up     appointments (46%) and counselling (41%).
and talk out about their feelings more. However, with
the worrying rise of poor mental health in this age
group, it’s no surprise that they expect employers to
respond accordingly.

Universities and graduate employers both have a role to play in
          making the move for graduates from education to the workplace
as enriching and positive as possible. For universities, facilitating candid
conversations between recent graduates and current students can allow
accurate expectations for what life will be like after university. You can also
find students’ experiences of graduating from the Student Minds Blog.
Employers can make a positive difference by being as transparent as possible
in their recruitment processes, setting clear expectations for candidates,
defining (and sticking to) reasonable timescales at each stage, and providing
timely feedback. Employers who show empathy to candidates throughout
recruitment are often the ones who have a supportive, flexible workplace
culture, and whose graduate employees find their mental health best
Moving into the workplace can be a significant challenge for a graduate’s
mental health. Find out more about the unique experiences of graduates and
the impact on their wellbeing in Student Minds’ Graduate Wellbeing Report.

Student Minds, the UK’s student
mental health charity

Top Tips: How to support graduates with their mental health?

1     Develop FAQs to help graduates cope with the change from university to the workplace

2     Identify factors that cause work stress and pinpoint ways in which these can be reduced
      the workplace

3     Implement a buddy system even before new graduates have started so they can talk through
      issues or concerns and transition easier

4     Organise work-related social activities which are varied to ensure these are inclusive
      for all employees

5     Make sure graduates have a point of contact for if their wellbeing is suffering and ensure
      there are advocates for mental wellbeing at senior levels of the organisation

6     Train managers so they understand the importance of showing a regular interest in graduate
      personal development and to help them support healthy living, stress management and
      improved wellbeing and ensure managers attend external courses such as ‘Managing
      Mental Wellbeing’

7     Create an open culture to make employees feel more comfortable, including hosting mental
      health drop-ins where employees can talk openly with others about how they’re feeling. With
      clear links between employees’ wellbeing and their level of performance and morale at work,
      creating an open dialogue between management, peers and employees is important and
      encourages open conversations

8     Make sure you are accurately promoting your company culture – review the hiring process
      and any communications you have currently to ensure this is reflective and realistic

Despite Covid-19, it is clear that there is a wealth of   throughout the recruitment process if they want to
talent who know what they’re looking for as they enter    attract and retain young, fresh talent.
the workplace. In terms of what’s attracting candidates
                                                          Despite efforts to recruit ‘top talent’, employers
to apply for roles, salary (66%) and location (55%)
                                                          may well be missing out on candidates that best fit
are, understandably, the highest driving factors.
                                                          their organisation, as graduates report that they’ve
Nonetheless, career progression (55%) and learning
                                                          been discouraged from applying to a role due to a
and development opportunities (50%) rank similarly
                                                          company’s complicated recruitment processes (67%),
high, as candidates look to future-proof their careers.
                                                          including those which have too many stages (63%).
Employer branding and reputation also play a key
                                                          A quarter (25%) are also put off by jargon being used
role, with a quarter (23%) of applicants reporting that
                                                          to describe the role.
this was a factor in what motivated them to apply.
These factors, which are clearly motivating soon-to-
be workers, must be central to employers’ offerings

Jargon Decoder
      Whilst jargon might make sense in the workplace, for recent graduates and new starters, too much
      jargon is off putting, discouraging and confusing. In fact, our research from 2019 found that three
      quarters (75%) of candidates would prefer job adverts to not include jargon at all and to just be written
      in plain English in the first place.

      This why we launched a ‘Jargon Decoder’ last year to help combat these concerns. The tool, which is
      available on the Milkround website, helps candidates to identify and translate the confusing and overly
      technical language in job descriptions. Not only does the Decoder hope to take the stress out of more
      technical applications, but also makes these roles more accessible for graduate-level talent.

      We also analysed over 32,000 job adverts posted in the two years previous and identified 83 of the
      worst examples of jargon. We found that jargon was being overused across most industries, with
      the average job description including 4 examples of jargon. Our Decoder, therefore, doubles up as a
      proofer for employers who are posting descriptions, flagging whether they’re using jargon where they
      might not need to.

      Learn more about the Jargon Decoder.

Processes for success
Graduate candidates also have clear preferences as            of candidates stating that they don’t usually receive
to how the recruitment process should look. Despite           feedback following interviews, which is seen as vital
often being characterised as the ‘online’ generation,         during their first job-searches. Whilst this means that
the most recent cohort of graduates overwhelmingly            57% do receive feedback, 57% of those that do said
prefer traditional CV and cover letter (74%) and face         that they have to usually ask or chase for it.
to face interviews (73%), compared to more complex
                                                              When asked what feedback they would appreciate
processes. This includes pre-prepared tasks (20%),
                                                              most, candidates reported that they would benefit
psychometric testing (17%), and assessment centre/
                                                              from personalised, specific and constructive feedback
group interviews (17%). Only 5% report that they
                                                              which they can learn from for their next opportunity.
favour any gamification element, suggesting that the
                                                              Recent graduates were less concerned about whether
recruitment process itself might be something best
                                                              they were a ‘team fit’ or their presentation skills.
kept traditional.

It’s nearly 50-50 as to whether students and graduates
receive feedback following an interview, with 43%

Feedback students and graduates find most helpful

Feedback related to their skills                                                                     55%

    If unsuccessful, what they
     should work on next time

       Feedback on how they
      answered the questions

Insight as to what answers the
successful candidate provided

             Feedback on their
             presentation skills

Feedback on their experience                                23%

    Feedback on their team fit                11%

Is ‘job-ghosting’ acceptable?
In some cases, recruitment decisions are cut short by       employer have done so after being offered a second-
candidates themselves. Over half (52%) of job offers        round interview. In some cases, other candidates
are declined due to the candidate receiving a better        accept (26%) or even start (28%) a role, before then
opportunity, stressing the importance of employers          ghosting their employer.
nailing the package they present, employer brand and
                                                            Moving forward, if employers want to avoid being
interview process in the first instance. It is reassuring
                                                            ‘ghosted’ and try and combat candidates from
that the majority of candidates are conscientious in
                                                            completely cutting all communication, they must do
letting prospective employers know of their change of
                                                            more to continue conversations during the full hiring
circumstance via email (56%) or phone (35%).
                                                            process. HR teams must promote opportunities to
Interestingly, one in 20 candidates have ‘ghosted’ a        keep doors open for potential employees, if they find
recruiter or potential employer - they have suddenly        a different opportunity and also seek to find out why
stopped responding to the recruitment team. In fact,        the counteroffer was perceived as a better and more
almost half (48%) of those who have ghosted an              attractive alternative.

The importance of employer branding to graduates during this time
Every year, Universum releases its rankings of the UK’s most attractive employers, surveying students on their
career aspirations, to identify the most coveted employers in the eyes of our future workforce. This year’s survey,
which ran from October 2019 - March 2020 and partially accounts for the impact of Covid-19, saw 40,500 students
from 168 British universities share their opinions and views on their career goals and ideal employers. This allows
employers to understand current perceptions of their company, as well as understand the wants and needs of the
entry-level talent they are looking to attract and retain.

               Our annual research implies the new workforce yearns a greater
               desire for security, wellbeing and belonging in an organisation. There
      is retained desire for career progression; more so than the personal career
      milestones Gen Y have been typically associated with, collecting in a ‘portfolio
      career’ characteristic.
      When we consider the impact of Employer Brand and reputation, we must
      consider many factors. One of the things that Covid-19 has presented
      businesses with, is the attributes to shift in focus towards care and support for
      employees, which will help meet the needs of this next generation. Listening
      to our research, understanding how we make people feel, through creating an
      emotional connection in the context of a business relationship is of the utmost
      importance. The magnetism comes less from aesthetics and gimmicks, and
      more about heart and human engagement.

      Steve Ward,
      UK Business Director, Universum


Recruitment is key to getting the right talent through            look to meet some of these wishes, the average
the door for your business. However, it’s equally                 worker is likely to stay for a further year (totaling
important to focus on how you can retain that                     3.5 years) in their first role. Importantly, there is
talent, putting a concerted effort into keeping young             scope to retain staff even further if employers meet
workers motivated, productive and engaged within                  expectations adequately, with a quarter of graduates
the business.                                                     (24%) reporting that they would be likely to stay for
                                                                  5+ years if their employer made changes to their day
Most graduates plan to stay in their first role for
                                                                  to day, showing a clear desire for new and exciting
1-2 years, with the average graduate planning to
                                                                  opportunities in the workplace.
stay for around 2.4 years. However, if employers
can listen to what young workers are looking for and

What could encourage graduates to stay longer?
Part of effective retention lies in listening to what recent graduates see as their productivity drivers. It is clear that
the people you hire are central to productivity, therefore listening to young workers, who are crying out for more
flexible working and training and mentorship should be a key consideration.

Number of graduates who believe this factor drives productivity

     Great team                                     81%                 Four-day week                   30%

                                                                   Not being expected
 Great manager                                  74%                                                    29%
                                                                  to work longer hours

Interesting work                                74%                Working from home                   28%

Flexible working                             66%                           Quiet zones                 28%

    Training and
                                            64%                             Hot desking           4%

When looking inwards, many young workers also feel like they’re lacking in the job function specific skills they need
to thrive in their workplace, with 44% expressing this as a concern. This is also corroborated as they rank learning
and development opportunities high on their expectations of a potential employer. They also report that they want
to build their public speaking (45%) and confidence skills (43%), in terms of attributes they think they’re lacking
in. Interestingly, despite public speaking skills ranking second to top in terms of skills young workers thought they
lacked in the workplace, only 7% actually report it as being of importance to employers.

Top 10 skills young workers report they lack in:

1             45%                    6                 12%
        Public speaking skills                  Communication skills

2     Job function specific skills
                                     7                 11%
      (e.g. knowing a particular                  Attention to detail
            IT programme)

3             43%                    8                 11%
             Confidence                   Problem solving / critical thinking

4              21%                   9                 11%
              Creativity                               Writing

5              14%                   10                 7%
         Time management                              Teamwork

The top skills young people voted that they lacked may stem from the perception of preparation at university for
entering the workplace. Fewer graduates felt like their university had prepared them for the workplace this year,
with only 15% reporting that they felt completely prepared (down on 18% last year). Respondents also believed
there were gaps in their education which would have been helpful for their first role (41%).

However, with one in ten (10%, marking a 2% increase on last year) graduate workers feeling that they were
completely unprepared for the workplace after their degree and 25% flagging that they weren’t sure that their
university had done enough (up from 15% last year), there’s clearly more to be done in bridging the gap between
higher-education and work within universities, their courses and career advisors. For employers, this could mean
that ensuring the soft skills which candidates report lacking when they enter the workplace are incorporated into the
onboarding process.

Motivated by money?
Young workers expect personal growth and                     On average, candidates expect to earn around
development to be reflected in their salaries. Most          £40,614 within five years of graduating, marking a
students and graduates expect to earn between                58% salary increase within those five years. The
£20,001 and £25,000 in their first role, with the            gendered difference between expected salaries also
average expected salary sitting just above this bracket      widens over time, with women expecting £37,464 after
at £25,319. However, there is a significant difference       five years, compared to men who expect an average
between the salaries which men and women expect              of £43,763. These stats signpost a rise from 7% at the
when they start their careers, with women expecting          start of their careers, rising to 16% five years later.
7% less than their male counterparts.

Future proofing the
In order for companies to recruit and retain the right    causing a disconnect for current candidates, as they
candidates and top entry-level talent they are looking    are also most concerned by competition from those
for, it is important to understand the concerns or        with more work experience (67%).
long-term goals of students and recent graduates to
                                                          As well as competitive roles and workplaces, they
future-proof the workforce.
                                                          are worried about low pay (46%), and candidates
Generally, the biggest concern for students and           from prestigious universities, such as the Russell
graduates beginning their careers is not learning fast    Group institutions, being prioritised (38%) when it
enough (55%) or not being good enough at the job          comes to their future career prospects showing a
(54%), highlighting a general lack of confidence. It is   strong correlation of doubt. These findings are even
interesting to explore the lack of confidence during      more poignant when broken down by the following
the recruitment stages and in their early careers as      gender splits;

Do you have any concerns about your future career prospects?

Competition from those with more work                                                                    64%
  experience/networking opportunities                                                                            72%

                               Low pay

           Candidates from prestigious                                     36%
             universities are prioritised                                     40%

                    I have no concerns
                                                                                                  Male          Female

Respondents ranked high future earnings (40%) top as the most attractive factor for a leadership role, followed by
opportunities to coach and mentor others (34%) and a higher level of responsibility (28%). Employers should take
these factors into consideration from the outset by incorporating this into both recruitment and training strategies.
This will highlight the opportunities for candidates to develop their coaching skills and responsibility and in turn,
encourage them to stay longer.

Mapping out career paths

    Most graduates plan to stay in their first role for
1-2 years, with the average graduate planning to stay                                  A quarter of graduates
for around 2.4 years                                                               (24%) report that they would
                                                                                   be likely to stay for 5+ years if
                                                                                   their employer made changes
              On average, students and                                             to their day to day routines
           graduates believe they will
           have 4-5 jobs throughout
           their lifetime
                                                                                   Thinking further ahead to just
                                                                                before retirement, 31% believe they’ll
                                                                                be working in the same industry as
                                                                                their first graduate job

      25% are not sure their
   current job will exist by
   the time of retirement,
   however 68% think it will                                        Majority of respondents think they will retire at 70

Executive summary
This year’s Candidate Compass has captured the                         dream industry, more this year than last. Regardless
thoughts, concerns and aspirations of students and                     of their resilience, there is a great opportunity for
graduates at a difficult and tumultuous time. It’s                     employers to lead the way within their recruitment,
reassuring to see the sheer amount of resilience                       onboarding, training and retention initiatives to help
young people are demonstrating; not just from those                    support entry-level talent transfer smoothly and
who are in the early stages of their careers, but also                 comfortably into the working world.
those who are just about to enter the jobs market.                     We also continue to see significant diversity
Generally it seems, more and more graduates are                        imbalances including differences in the salaries
interested in pursuing medical and science roles,                      young women expect compared to men, whether that
whilst the NHS has once again proven to be the top                     is when they first enter the job market or five years
dream employer. This is perhaps unsurprising given                     later. Moreover, we’ve found that females feel they
the recent pandemic and how the NHS has been                           are at a disadvantage in certain industries, because
positively portrayed as helping to heavily support our                 of their gender. There’s clearly still room to improve
country during the Covid-19 outbreak.                                  commitment to diversity across the board too, with
                                                                       most graduates from all walks of life raising concerns
Despite this, we have seen some prominent shifts                       as to how coming from a lower socio-economic,
in attitudes towards how graduates feel about their                    minority background or minority identity can negatively
future careers and individual skill-sets within the last               impact future careers.
year. Most notably, the marked increase in young
people reporting poor mental health. It is therefore                   These insights aim to help employers make more
more important than ever that employers are adapting                   informed decisions when shaping their student and
and providing the necessary support for their younger                  graduate recruitment campaigns. We would love your
workers as they transition from education to working                   feedback. Please do get in touch with any questions
life. Our findings have also revealed an increased lack                about this year’s Candidate Compass, or if you would
of confidence amongst students as graduates, as they                   like further insights to support your attraction and
feel less prepared for the workplace when they leave                   retention strategies.
university and question whether they will work in their

                                                                                                      Fiona Rigby,
                                                                                    Head of Marketing at Milkround


To discuss your 2020/21 graduate recruitment campaigns,
             please get in touch with us today.

                     0333 0145 111

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