Almost half of employers plan to increase the number of student and graduate hires over the next year, says research from the Institute of Student Employers (ISE) and Handshake.

According to survey findings, 47 percent of organisations that employ college and university leavers intend to boost the number of jobs they offer that sector in the next 12 months.


Why the increase?

The survey found that a third (33%) of employers said the main motivation for increasing the number of graduates was company growth.

A fifth (20%) said their main motivation was graduate hires that represent‘ good value’.

Most (90%) said connecting with good candidates more generally was a concern.


Covid-19 and a lack of experience

The good news has been welcomed by Peterborough-based Anne Corder Recruitment, despite 85 per cent of employers recognising that graduates have had less time and experience in the workplace because of the pandemic.

The recruitment agency recently carried out its own online research, with employers saying they favour work ethic over work experience when looking for their next student recruit.


Graduate hires: what skills are employers looking for?

Almost three quarters (69%) of respondents said work ethic and personal ability ranked way above work experience when it came to offering the job.

Transferable skills (31%) were also favoured – with work experience scoring 0 in the online survey.

Finding graduates with job-specific skill sets and who are sector-ready will remain a top priority in the year ahead, according to 63 per cent of businesses.

Soft skills such as working with others, professionalism, punctuality and managing deadlines were key for 44 percent of businesses.


What does the future look like?

Recruitment partner Judith Broughton said: “This latest national research comes on the back of our own survey – both of which bring really encouraging news for graduates.

“Graduates have some incredible positives to offer the workplace. They are eager to start their first ‘proper’ job, have fresh ideas and new talents to offer an employer, come with a willingness to learn and are enthusiastic.

“It is also encouraging to see that employers are shifting the emphasis when it comes to traits they are looking for when recruiting for their next graduate role, which in turn will help with retaining enthusiastic young talent.”

Judith added: “While the pandemic has impacted many areas when it comes to jobs and employment, and employers are taking into account that many young people have not been able to attain high levels or any work experience, there is still plenty graduates can do to make themselves employable and get ahead of the game when employers are looking to fill roles.”






Amelia Brand is the Editor for HRreview, and host of the HR in Review podcast series. With a Master’s degree in Legal and Political Theory, her particular interests within HR include employment law, DE&I, and wellbeing within the workplace. Prior to working with HRreview, Amelia was Sub-Editor of a magazine, and Editor of the Environmental Justice Project at University College London, writing and overseeing articles into UCL’s weekly newsletter. Her previous academic work has focused on philosophy, politics and law, with a special focus on how artificial intelligence will feature in the future.