When the final exams have been graded and the mortarboard hat has been thrown in celebration, there’s only one thing on most graduate’s minds: what’s next? Entering the workforce after graduating from university can be an overwhelming experience. However, many graduates have a good idea of what they want in a job – even if they don’t know what job they want yet. From an employer’s point of view, it can sometimes be easy to assume that graduate students will be eager to join your company. However, this isn’t always the case. If you have a business that you believe in and you know would be a great place for a recent graduate to grow, you need to ensure that the roles that you’re offering appeal to them.

There are many ways to make sure your company has a lot to offer for recent graduates. The key is knowing what graduates are looking for in their first job and making sure you offer greater opportunities for progression than your competitors. What’s more, you need to ensure that you can fulfil your promises. With 32 per cent of graduates planning to stay in their first job for two to five years and 31 per cent saying they don’t know how long they will stay, there are plenty of opportunities to train and retain new talent if you know how to ensure that graduates stick with your business.

Although your rate of pay is important, there are many other things that graduates look for when on the hunt for their first role. Let’s take a look at the most important factors.

Training and development

Room for development is a very important factor for many recent graduates. So, when advertising a new role, be sure to highlight any development opportunities. In one survey, “information about training and development” was cited as the second most important thing that graduates wanted to see from employers before applying to a role. Clearly, most graduates are thinking long-term at this point in their careers. It’s not necessarily all about how much they can earn right now, but how much they can learn and progress in the future. This way, they'll be able to reach their dream role (and salary) someday soon.

If you’re advertising entry-level positions, include your company's training opportunities in the job description. No graduate is done with their vocational training and education yet, so this is a very important factor for you to include. As well as training days, be sure to highlight any development opportunities that candidates won’t be able to access elsewhere. If your company is in the engineering sector, for example, getting hands-on experience and working with equipment such as hydraulic cylinders or piston rings will be valuable to recent graduates.

Fast-track progression schemes

If fast development is something you can offer candidates, consider setting up a specific scheme for recent graduates. Many graduates are drawn to grad schemes due to the promise of professional development as well as short term financial security. Setting up a grad scheme or fast-track programme will bring endless benefits to your company. By investing in young talent, you’ll secure the future of your workforce, introduce a new wave of innovation and creativity, and enjoy high financial returns on your investment.

Work-life balance

As well as career progression and development, graduates also want a healthy work-life balance. When searching for new employees, this is something to highlight in your job advertisement. The world of work may seem daunting for many young graduates. So, by offering a role within a company that has a positive culture, supportive community, and a good work-life balance, you will make your roles stand out against your competitors. This doesn’t just mean flexible working and holidays. It's also about creating a positive environment in which employees will be able to get stuck into a wide variety of tasks that will keep them engaged and motivated.

There are so many ways that you can turn your company into the best possible environment for recent graduates. Whatever sector you work in, make sure that new and potential employees know that you have their best interests at heart and you’re as invested in their futures as they are.

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