Hiring Graduates: The Challenges

With 30% of companies expecting to hire more graduates in 2015 than in previous years, UK organisations have expressed concerns about sourcing graduates that have sufficient people skills. New research from Hay Group reveals that as many as 80% of HR Directors feel that recruiting graduates with sufficient people skills is a challenge. Are companies who are taking on new graduates just causing themselves more headaches, or are graduates worth investing in?

As you might expect, employers and graduates take a different view on the situation. Statistics show that 90% of HR Directors believe that employees who have good people skills have a greater commercial impact, and 83% disclosed that graduates who didn’t have the necessary emotional and social skills would not become high performers. Countering this, 69% of graduates said that soft skills ‘get in the way of getting the job done’ and believed that they would succeed in their job role irrespective of this.

Are Technical Skills More Important Than People Skills In The Workplace?

Any HR Director worth their salt will say that first and foremost applicants need to have the right technical capabilities in order to succeed, but people skills shouldn’t be overlooked.

While 76% of HR Directors were concerned that graduates were not prepared for the workplace, David Smith, a Consultant at Hay Group, commented that graduates have the potential to develop soft skills on the job. He said: “It’s now down to organisations to recruit and develop graduates in the right way, so they appreciate the role these ‘softer’ skills play in their own development and the value they offer to the business.”

But this may also suggest that what the current stock of HR Directors and what new graduates consider to be people skills could be quite different. While graduates may have the right approach when dealing with other graduates, they need time to settle into the company culture and to pick up on the people skills that are expected of them by seasoned employees.

Are Graduates Worth The Investment?

It costs businesses between £500-£1000 to take on a new graduate. It seems that businesses are doing their best to provide training in order to boost people skills. 91% of HR professionals believe that their organisation has adequate training and 83% say that their managers dedicate more time to developing people skills than technical skills.

How Long Does It Fake for Graduates To Reach Proficiency In People Skills?

There’s no fast track here. The majority of businesses expect it will take between six months to two years for graduates to gain the people skills needed to perform effectively for the business.

Looking to the future, HR aren’t all that confident in graduates either. 77% are concerned for the future leadership of their organisation based on the soft skills of their current graduate employees. Yet perhaps graduates mark a new direction for businesses and will have a greater impact than HR Directors give them credit for.

Graduates Are The Future

By 2020, we can expect that millennials will make up 50% of the workforce and many of them will be recent graduates. Organisations need to put strategies in place to make the best of the skills that each individual in their workplace has, whether they are a seasoned employee or a new graduate. Successful companies know the value of their whole team.

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