A series of shocks have hit the UK economy, and economic volatility is rising. You have probably heard that the Bank of England is already concerned we may be in a recession or at least looking at one. 

Companies in past recessions that emerged in the best shape relied less on redundancies to cut costs and focused more on operational improvements.  Job losses aren’t just harmful to workers; they can be pricey for companies, too. Layoffs hurt morale, which can massively effect productivity at a time when companies can’t afford to.

However, during economic downturns, it can appear easy for employers to completely stop hiring to reduce cost, yet this is often not a good solution. There are different approaches to consider first; hiring & developing graduates is one.

So, why should your company consider hiring graduates during the upcoming tough economic times?

They are ready to mould

Lack of experience is often seen as a downside for many businesses, but when considering candidates, graduates often provide many benefits. It’s their first ‘proper’ job, which means they can be taught easily and be shaped to the business’s needs from the get-go. Graduates can be developed to be a perfect fit in an organisation, filling in any gaps needed. Changing the habits of more experienced candidates who are already set in their ways can be far more costly and time-consuming for companies than hiring graduates. It’s common for experienced workers to get stuck in their ways and it can be difficult to change habits they have picked up in previous jobs. Graduates also tend to learn skills much faster than senior candidates… so it’s a win-win all round!

They are less ‘fussy’

In good economic times, graduates seeking their first job may have more options and can be more selective about where they work. But in a recession, graduates know they can’t be too choosy, and feel lucky to secure a job.

New graduates are more adaptable

It’s likely to be their first job, which means that graduates will go above and beyond to impress their employer! Although this doesn’t mean that graduates will work 60-hour weeks on a 40-hour contract! Graduates are often open to new opportunities, a few extra hours and helping in any way they can, to broaden their skillset as well as get on their new colleague’s good side.

Often, their lack of home commitments compared to more experienced, older employees means that they are likely to be more flexible with their free time. So, if there’s a last-minute event, or they are required to travel (doubt they would say no to travelling!), graduates are more likely to say yes!

Graduate salaries are lower than skilled equivalents

No one wants to earn less than what they are worth, although, new graduates are typically more open to accepting lower salaries in exchange for experience and training on the job. 

They don’t leave university expecting to get a senior wage at their first job, as they often have little to no experience.

If your business is finding it hard to attract the right candidates, then it may be worth reviewing your graduate salaries. It won’t impact your company’s payroll a huge amount compared to more experienced candidates, but it will allow you to secure and grow the exact talent your business needs.

Graduates understandably get lower pay when entering the working world. The current average graduate salary in the UK is just over £24,000, according to the Graduate Outcomes report by HESA. For a benchmark, search the current average graduate salary for the position you are hiring for. Or get in touch with friends in the same industry to ask – transparency is important.

Business reputation

Recessions don’t last forever. And when the economy gets back on its feet, everybody loves to look back and judge the companies that panicked and fired all their staff.

Maintaining your business reputation is essential during hard economic periods and will make your company more attractive to future applicants and keep great morale amongst staff.

Graduates can be a great part of the future success and growth of the company.

Graduates bring new, fresh ideas

Some companies are cautious when hiring graduates if their degrees aren’t relevant to the industry. However, all graduates bring new ideas and fresh perspectives to the mix. That can be truly invaluable to a company, especially if it faces tough economic challenges, no matter what they got their bachelors in.

University encourages students to look at ideas and systems with a critical eye, and this attitude can transfer well to a business environment. This helps them develop new ways of thinking and challenge potentially outdated approaches. This is an essential skill that many businesses could benefit from, but are missing out on.

Regardless of what course they’ve studied, graduates bring new ideas and a fresh outlook which can be hugely beneficial to a business. They are known to be ready to learn and are hungry for success!

Invest in Graduates!

Please contact us if you would like to discuss how Discovery can help with your graduate recruitment and development.