The future is bright. The future is graduates.
Back to our blog

The future is bright. The future is graduates.

We’ve been thinking a lot about graduates lately. Where they come from, where they’re going, how we can help them get there. We know that graduates are the leaders of the future. They're bright, ambitious and keen for a challenge.

Is your organisation ready to give them what they need?

If you employ graduates, you’ll know they are worth investing in. Sure, they might dazzle you with their techy knowledge and qualifications the minute they walk through the door. But when you take the time to equip them with essential soft skills, they become the game changer you didn’t know you were missing.

Why recruit graduates?

Contrary to popular hearsay, grads aren’t the job hoppers they are often accused of being. According to the Institute of Student Employers Graduate Survey 2019, graduate retention rates are pretty stable, with 74% and 60% staying after 3 and 5 years respectively. What’s more, the survey found that a key reason for leaving was a lack of career development or progression. Hype Collective's 2019 survey: What students want in a graduate job found that grads are pretty uncomplicated, they just want a job that treats them well, makes them happy and pays the bills.

In short, graduates offer a great opportunity for any organisation. With their new ideas, fresh thinking and degree-level skills, they can be a highly cost effective way of creating a ‘talent pipeline’. You don’t have to have a graduate recruitment team or an established graduate scheme, but you do need to know how you'll support your grads on their journey.

Beware of the satisfaction gap...

Grads come equipped with a bagful of theoretical knowledge and professional attributes. But plenty of graduates leave higher education without transferable soft skills. Put simply, many don't have the knowledge or confidence to apply their vocational and generic competencies to the workplace. You could find yourself with a 'satisfaction gap' if you're trying to fill positions which demand high levels of self-management, leadership skills, and people management.

According to the Department for Education's latest Employer Skills Survey the most common soft skills lacking in the labour market are time-management and self-regulation. Although these aren't easy to tick-off on your job spec, they have a BIG impact on the ability of graduates to adapt to your workplace and become an effective member of your team.

Of course, here at Outward Bound we think every young person deserves a chance to realise they're #morethanyouthink. Some quality time, mentoring and the opportunity to test a few new approaches will go a long way. If you find yourself in a satisfaction gap then why not challenge yourself? What can you do to raise your support for your early careers talent?

Robots don't have soft skills

Unsurprisingly, the LinkedIn Workplace Learning Report 2018 identified soft skills as the number one priority for learning and development programmes. Robots don’t have soft skills, and we’ll eat our hats if they develop them anytime in our new decade. These days, tech skills have a short shelf life (robots have got those nailed) so employees need to be adaptable to take on the jobs machines can’t do. That means that the priorities for skill development on graduate training programmes must be leadership, communication and collaboration.

As it turns out, actually getting your graduates to make time for this kind of learning is often challenging. On top of that, LinkedIn reports that a lack of a growth mindset is holding organisations back. Somewhat ironically, graduate employees value the opportunity to learn and grow, so much so that 94% say they would stay longer if their organisation invested in career development. It’s a no brainer – tap into that kind of mindset and you will be able to maximise their potential.

Make your graduates work for you

The brightest and best graduates want to be challenged. They're motivated and driven to lead – so if you want to attract them, you need to make sure your grad scheme encourages the skills they'll need. And maybe you're reading this thinking you don't have the time or resources to deliver life-changing soft skills training for your graduates. But don’t worry, we’ve got you covered! When it comes to encouraging a growth mindset, and building leadership and communication skills in your graduates, we’ll go out on a limb and say we’re one of the best. If you want to give your grad scheme (and your grads) the X-factor, check out what our graduate programmes offer, sign up for our free workshop or just drop us an email!

Develop your graduates

If you're interested in seeing how you could use Outward Bound to help give your graduates what they need, then you're in the right place!

Free workshop

Join us on Tuesday 17 March for a free workshop to explore leadership development for your early careers talent