Early careers engagement – Is final year too late?

The simple answer is yes. In recent years, gradireland have received significant feedback from employers to say that many graduates leaving college, though highly skilled academically, often do not have the soft skills needed for the modern world of work nor an understanding of the career pathway options available to them.

It will come as no surprise that the majority of students do not start to focus on their future until far too late in their 3rd level journey, with many only starting to look at career opportunities and life after college in their final year. The problem for employers and students alike is that this leads to students graduating without the employability skills that employers need, as well as a general unpreparedness for the realities of working life.

early careers engagement

It is clear that due to the improving economy and a deepening understanding by many employers of the importance of graduate recruitment, competition has really begun to intensify. Therefore graduate attraction and engagement with final year students has become a more crowded space, putting the graduate in the driving seat. At the same time recent gradireland research found that 49% of graduate recruiters anticipate challenges in finding candidates with the right skills to excel in their organisations.

So what can be done?

The good news is that there is a, “two birds-one stone” solution. Early engagement allows employers to influence and educate at the same time by helping to foster a relationship between the potential future candidate and the employer brand.

One such example of a leading graduate recruiter that is actively participating in early careers engagement is Accenture. In January 2016, Accenture hosted an event targeting second level students to raise awareness of all the career opportunities in the field of STEM. This event was not only an amazing opportunity to showcase all of the fantastic opportunities available with science, technology, engineering and maths but also an effective introduction of the Accenture employer brand to students who will start to make career decisions in the not-too-distant future.  At a recent gradireland Breakfast Masterclass, Ingrid Devlin, EMEA Diversity and Inclusion Lead at Dell Ireland explained that many of the world’s leading graduate employers have now even started engaging with students at primary level.

gradireland is at the centre of this movement, having introduced the brand new, innovative #FYI  content initiative this year. This campaign is driven by bespoke video and infographic content, created in partnership with the employer; it is designed to highlight the importance of career pathway awareness and soft skill development. We are so proud to have some of Ireland’s leading graduate recruiters on board for this initiative; you can view some of the #FYI videos here.

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