Recruiters told to spend less money going on about their brand

In a recent survey of over 5,000 undergraduates, the international recruitment consultancy Work Group discovered that most students started their search for a career by first looking at the sectors of work they were interested in, then the actual jobs and then (but only then) at the employers that might employ them. Only just over 10 per cent of students in the survey  looked first at the attractions of specific recruiters.

Like most research, it looks like stating the obvious but, in this case, there is an extremely serious and important lesson to be learned – not by students who will do what they do anyway but for recruiters who currently spend a fortune trying to persuade you that they are special, unique and so much better than the competition.

Work Group suggests that employers should take some of the money they currently spend on their brand and, together with other similar recruiters, spend it on promoting the sector of work that they inhabit.

So rather than, for example, every law or accountancy firm spending all their attraction budget pointing out how different they are, they would have greater success in the long term by spending a proportion  on attracting a pool of talented graduates into the law or accountancy sector where they may very well spend their entire working life.

Their argument, supported by students’ responses, is that it’s far more important for the whole sector to promote itself as a great place to work and inspire the really talented students to commit to working there. They also point out that many graduates move company within a few years and therefore if they love the sector, they will join another similar organisation anyway.

I think that students are pretty sceptical that there are significant or game-changing differences between similar-sized and similar-sounding employers and, as the research says, they will spend more time anyway looking at the merits of a range of work sectors first. This is pretty sound advice – if you make the right choice of sector and job, then exactly where you start your career is not as relevant as you might think.

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