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Is a Bigger Salary the Only Way to Retain Graduate Talent?


Attracting and retaining the best available graduate talent will become more problematic for employers as the skills gap widens in sectors such as tech and engineering. The Association of Graduate Recruiters (AGR) has found that just under 10% of graduates leave within a year of completing their initial training programme. Over 90% of employers lose graduate talent to a competitor offering a higher salary.

Deloitte’s Millennial Trends Survey supports AGR’s findings by citing pay as the main driver for graduate talent leaving their jobs. Since 2008, young people have experienced a bigger drop in earnings than other employees, which may explain in part the lure of a higher salary.  At the same time, UK businesses determined to attract the cream of the graduate crop are paying more than 30% above current market rates to graduates in IT and finance. The majority of these recruits are from non-British Universities as companies struggle to recruit qualified candidates.

For businesses with limited budgets, the good news is that there are more factors at play than salary but these require robust policies which support the aspirations of graduate recruits. Unmet career expectations were also identified by AGR as a reason for a change of employer, and Deloitte found that 44% of millennials believe they will resign from their current position within the next two years.