10 Stats and Facts About University Recruitment Strategies

10 Stats and Facts About University Recruitment Strategies

Emily Smykal

college recruiting best practicesGet ‘em while they’re young–a useful tactic for many industries. Advertising and the military pursue students and young adults on a regular basis, and reap many rewards. But this approach can be complicated when used by recruiters in other industries.

Businesses may see students as ripe for the picking: young and eager to work, but still pliable and easy to train. However, identifying the best students for a job or training course, and getting them on board, takes more than slick advertising and powerful slogans. Indirect contact with students and their universities does not necessarily lead to an increase in quality hires.

The latest Talent Pulse report from Human Capital Institute (HCI),Collaboration U: Business and University Partnerships To Secure Talent Pipelines,” surveyed HR leaders in a range of industries across the U.S. to see just how well the relationships between recruiters and higher education have been working.

In this post we’ll look at some of these trends in university recruitment strategies, and you can read the full report here.

1. Only 22% of organizations think they have a strong talent pipeline for key positions

And a separate survey found that among American business leaders, 70% have concerns that workers with key skills will not be available to them. This lack of confidence could suggest that recruiters will turn to higher education to nurture talent early. But the study found that more companies have been developing these skills among their own employees instead.

2. 57% believe skill shortages will hurt their ability to meet important goals

To combat these shortages, 61% of survey respondents said they are focusing more on employee development to fill skills gaps, compared to three years ago. This was more common than acquiring talent externally to fill skill gaps. But teaching employees a new skill, or finding outside workers with the skills you need, is not always the most efficient process.

3. Among recruitment leaders, 72% list critical thinking and problem solving as the most important skill employees should have

A similar survey found that despite the shortfall in STEM skills among U.S. businesses, “soft skills” like critical thinking are actually in higher demand. Collaboration and teamwork came in second in that survey, while technical skills tied with communication at 54%. We often think of skills gaps in terms of a lack of technical prowess. But recruiters are clearly frustrated with the lack of problem solving and interpersonal skills, too.

4. 71% believe their collaboration with universities strengthens their talent pipeline

And while 67% of the leaders surveyed felt they are able to measure the success of their university partnerships, 30% strongly disagreed with that statement. Most recruiters see higher education partnerships as beneficial, but they will find it increasingly imperative to track and measure the success of those collaborations as a part of their overall university recruitment strategy.

5. But just 37% believe students are prepared to enter the workforce

This comes in stark contrast with the 72% of educational institutions that believe students are ready for their new jobs. The gap between the skills businesses need and those available among the workforce might be a direct result of this mismatch. Universities have different agendas compared to businesses, but it could be in everyone’s interest for them to align more closely.

6. Among businesses that work with universities, 76% offer internships and co-ops

In addition, 36% offer training programs. In the next 3 years, 10% of organizations that don’t already offer internships or co-ops will do so and 12% of organizations plan to offer training programs for recent college graduates. Internships have been wildly popular for some time, and the growth in similar programs is not surprising despite some public setbacks.

7. Meanwhile only 39% of respondents have their own employees teach classes or seminars

Internships, training programs, apprenticeships, teaching and mentoring are all examples of more direct involvement with colleges and universities. They tend to be less common approaches compared to indirect involvement–advertisements in student media, sending recruiters to campuses, participating in career fairs. But sometimes the direct approach is the best approach.

8. 84% of apprenticeships and training programs were considered effective at sourcing quality hires

Internships and co-ops, and employee mentors for students also ranked high on the list. Some of the less effective methods businesses use in partnership with colleges and universities include having tables at career fairs and placing ads in student media. Based on the survey, businesses agreed that more direct, practical engagement with students led to more quality hires.

9. When it comes to outreach, 89% feel they make students aware of the skills and degrees they need

Another 79% build awareness of their employment brand at colleges and universities even when they don’t have positions to fill. Companies think they’re doing a good job of getting the word out, and raising their profile among students. But this doesn’t seem to impact the widening skills gap the same respondents highlighted earlier.

10. 63% of organizations surveyed admit a lack of resources is the biggest challenge they face

When recruiting from higher education, a lack of a clear university recruitment strategy, and lack of collective vision among the organization and educational institutions also ranked high. Other hurdles include a lack of senior support, which would undoubtedly compound the problems of limited resources and unclear strategies.

While some results from the survey may look bleak, there are many opportunities for action among the numbers. If companies feel new, young workers aren’t well prepared for their jobs, and don’t have the skills required to thrive at the business, they would do well to work more directly with universities.

Their educational counterparts seem to think they’re doing their part, and it’s up to recruiters and senior leaders to develop actionable partnerships that can bridge that gap. Mentoring programs, guest lectures, more robust internship programs can all benefit businesses and students alike. As companies try to attract skilled workers, they are most successful when they leverage connections with higher education in more direct ways.

One aspect of recruitment marketing is job alerts and nurture campaigns. Check out our new eBook, “The Role of Job Alerts in a Modern Recruitment Marketing Strategy,” to learn more.

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