We recently conducted a Temperature Check to gain valuable insights into the experiences of students and graduates. The survey, conducted in April 2023, involved over 1000 participants, and aimed to understand their experiences with assessment centres, their preferences when it comes to engaging with employers, and how employers can update their practices to better suit the next generation of talent.
The findings from our research revealed a notable increase in confidence among students and graduates. Results showed that 60% of respondents expressed confidence in securing their dream job, a significant rise compared to last year’s figure of 46%. Moreover, many students and graduates in 2023 (68%) felt confident about entering the workplace in general, indicating a positive shift in their career aspirations. This surge in confidence prompted us to better understand where this was stemming from.
The study revealed that the rise in confidence coincided with an increase in students’ and graduates’ experience levels. In 2023, 59% of the respondents had gained part-time work experience and 43% had gained full-time. Compared to, 2022’s findings, 43% had part-time work and only 18% had full-time work experience. With increased confidence and practical experience, salary expectations are beginning to shift with over 62% of 2023 graduates saying they are drawn to an employer by the salary offered and the majority (26%) of graduates expecting to earn between £25k – £30k for their starting role. This is a significant rise compared to last year where most students and graduates (34%) expected to earn £20k – £25k in their first role. This indicates a connection between practical experience and a growth in the graduate’s confidence and wage expectations, offering companies valuable information on how to attract and retain top candidates.
However, while confidence levels were on the rise, the survey highlighted an area of concern regarding students’ skillset. Specifically, communication skills emerged as an area where students were the most worried. In fact, 32% of respondents ranked communication as their weakest soft skill, signalling the need for targeted support and development in this area during their graduate job hunt.
The recent findings provide valuable insight into the changing environment of talent development and acquisition for both students and businesses. Employers may modify their hiring processes to promote involvement and make use of the expertise this new generation has to offer. In order to ensure that these young professionals move into the workforce smoothly, it will also be essential to address the reported communication skills gap.
As the landscape of the job market continues to evolve, we look to continue to stand as a trusted partner in supporting students and graduates on their career journeys. This annual temperature check aims to provide a valuable comparison as the next generation of talent enters the workforce. Employers can use these findings to better understand and support graduates in a turbulent time as well as connect with students as they move through university.