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Will Graduate Recruitment Be Obsolete By 2041?

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A new survey from CV Library suggests that the value of the degree is declining by 2% every year. At current levels it suggests that the degree will be obsolete by 2041 – and with it graduate recruitment.

This supports the findings of a CIPD article highlighting the City and Guilds report ‘Great Expectations’, which indicates that less than a third of roles will be graduate level jobs by 2022. Graduates who entered University in 2015 will – it warns – be unlikely to find a suitable position by the time they enter the jobs market. It also follows the examples of companies including Penguin House Publishing and Ernst and Young who recently  removed the ‘degree filter’ from their hiring processes.

Concern also exists around the high levels of debt for graduates (averaging £44,000 per student) who can’t secure a job relevant to their graduate level qualification and whether certain vacancies could be filled by candidates without degrees.

Does this mean graduate recruitment will be obsolete by 2041?

Soaring demand

While the findings from CV Library and City and Guilds echo what seems to be a growing trend; ‘The Graduate Market In 2016’ reveals the following:-

  • Graduate vacancies are up by 7.5% this year, compared with 2015, which also saw a 8.1% rise on 2014 levels.
  • Current job openings for graduates are at record levels, representing a fourth consecutive year of growth.
  • Over 1,000 graduate jobs were unfilled last year, due to candidates turning job offers down.
  • The 2015 edition of ‘What Do Graduates Do?’ found that record numbers of graduates were in work during 2015 although it doesn’t clarify what type of jobs the graduates were employed in.

What does this mean for employers?

At present, demand for degree level candidates shows no sign of slowing but, like the workplace and the jobs market, graduate recruitment is evolving. With growing numbers of companies dropping the requirement for a degree, the way in which employers hire is changing, influenced by the move towards a more data driven recruitment process,

That doesn’t necessarily mean the degree will become obsolete. The skills gap is affecting areas where specialist qualifications are often in higher demand, such as engineering, healthcare, and tech sectors. The College Of Policing also put forward proposals to make a degree compulsory for all new police recruits, which may be rolled out in 2019.

Automation is another factor which will impact jobs across all sectors but it is claimed that more low risk jobs are now being created than high risk. The greatest demand, however, will be for jobs which don’t necessarily require degrees, such as care home workers and teaching assistants.

UK employers can address specific recruitment issues with the following steps:-

  • Identify the specific skills your business needs and assess whether a degree is required for these jobs to be successfully performed. Recruitment analytics will provide insight into the source of your high achievers and whether or not those employees are graduates.
  • Liaise more closely with educational institutions to ensure students are acquiring qualifications relevant to the needs of today’s workforce and are provided with greater awareness on the options available to them. New research suggests that graduates who lack statistical analysis and data mining skills will struggle to get hired.
  • Focus on the development of soft skills and on the job training. Nearly three quarters of the UK workforce surveyed by CV Library stated that the biggest disadvantage for graduates in the workplace was their lack of experience. Similarly, Young Enterprise found that 31% of young people aren’t taught essential soft skills such as teamwork, confidence and problem solving.
  • Minimise the risk of your job offer being rejected. Invest in HR technology which streamlines your hiring process, tracks graduates through your applicant tracking system and enables you to maintain consistent candidate engagement.

The nature of recruitment is changing. That doesn’t mean that the degree – or graduate recruitment – will be obsolete by 2041 but demand for graduate recruitment will inevitably change. Exactly how remains to be seen. In the meantime the companies that attract high performers will be those with robust recruitment and talent retention systems, a positive employer brand and clear career development opportunities for all of their employees.

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