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      Recruiters say ‘Achieving Diversity Targets’ is their biggest challenge

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      Last year, the number of graduates hired by organisations featured in The Times Top 100 Graduate Employers fell by 4.9% – the first drop in graduate recruitment for five years and the biggest annual fall recorded since 2009.

      so far in 2018, the outlook is cautiously optimistic, with graduate recruitment among the country’s top employers expected to increase by 3.6%, come September. The biggest growth in vacancies is expected among public sector organisations, accounting and professional services firms and engineering and industrial companies, according to the Graduate Market in 2018 report released by

      To better understand the complexity of graduate recruitment, analysed figures by High Fliers, to determine the challenges faced by the UK’s top employers, in their quest to recruit candidates, and which promotions employers feel publicise their graduate programmes best in 2018.

      Top 10 challenges for grad recruiters

      The Knowledge Academy found ‘achieving diversity targets’, such as gender, to be the number one challenge for graduate recruiters in 2018 – at 74%.

      This is closely followed by ‘improving students’ perception’ (55%), ‘increasing the quality of graduates recruited’ (46%) and ‘achieving social mobility targets’ (44%).

      Lesser issues, which still pose a challenge, include a ‘limited graduate recruitment marketing budget’ (29%) and ‘increased competition from other employers’ (27%).

      Joseph Scott, a spokesperson from, comments: “The face of graduate recruitment is changing, much like today’s students and their approach to university and further study in general. There are peaks and troughs, as evidenced by the fall in graduate recruitment numbers in 2017, and it is crucial to adapt. It’s about communication and a like-mindedness with young people today. We need to connect in different ways, perhaps using social media to do so. The days of advertising in local career guides and newspapers are long gone”.

      Graduate Recruitment Promotions 2018

      The UK’s leading employers have used a wide variety of promotions to publicise their graduate programmes during the 2017-18 recruitment season, echoing that adaptation is key. The number one change in 2018 is an increase in ‘promotions on social media’, with more than three-fifths (63%) of graduate recruiters confirming they have stepped up their use of online channels.

      Top 10 Grad Recru Promotions

      More employers have participated in promotions such as ‘skills training sessions’ (27%) and ‘campus presentations’ (22%.) While almost every major graduate employer has been working with ‘university careers services’ (19%) this year.

      Other notable promotions utilised in the 2017-18 graduate recruitment period include ‘careers fairs’ (19%), ‘email services’ (17%) and ‘promotions on graduate recruitment websites’ (16%.)

      While the use of ‘recruitment apps’ is steadily increasing – experiencing a 13% surge in the past year alone.

      Pleasingly, employers have reported strong attendances by students at their campus events so far, with nearly half of organisations reporting that either a ‘few more’ (32%) or ‘considerably more’ (16%) students have taken part in their local recruitment presentations and skills training sessions.

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      Vincenzo Ferrara

      Vinny Ferrara, Staff Writer for PA Life

      All stories by: Vincenzo Ferrara