Graduates have slammed the UK’s big employers for failing to offer feedback and being slow to provide progress updates – stoking fears that large firms which don’t streamline their processes risk losing great graduates to smaller employers offering a quicker, more candidate-friendly recruitment process.
A new study by KPMG – which runs one of the UK’s most popular graduate schemes – surveyed over 400 of this summer’s new graduates about their experiences of applying to the big schemes, and discovered that applicants’ complaints list reads as follows:
– Not being offered any feedback if they were unsuccessful (55%)
– Delayed or poor communication from the employer (43%)
– The length of time they had to wait to hear the outcome of the interview (34%)
– The length of time the recruitment process takes from start to finish (34%)
– Too many stages in the recruitment process (28%)
Simon Collins, Chairman of KPMG in the UK, admitted the “hard hitting” findings had been a wake-up call which had prompted his firm to shake things up and improve the candidate experience for graduates. He explained:
“Millennials don’t want to navigate a cumbersome and convoluted recruitment process when applying for a job and this is something we as business leaders need to understand and address.
“Our own graduates have given us some hard hitting but really useful feedback and we’re using this to overhaul how we recruit. From now on a candidate’s final interviews and assessments will take place over the course of just one day and we will make them an offer or give feedback explaining why they were not successful within two working days.”
Collins also warned that big firms that don’t change their ways risk losing great graduates to smaller businesses who offer shorter, simpler recruitment processes:
“Millennials no longer feel the need to play it safe and most are now equally happy to work for a start up or tech firm as they are a large traditional employer. We are competing with the full gamut for the best brains and talent leaving university: getting our graduate recruitment right is crucial to the long term success of our business.”
Alongside publication of this research, KPMG announced the introduction of Launch Pad, its new streamlined approach which combines the traditional three stages of first interview, assessment centre and final interview into a single day.
Students will also get the chance to gain new skills, network with existing KPMG staff and partners, as well as their peers. KPMG is the only ‘Big Four’ professional services firm to offer this type of graduate recruitment process, which was introduced following in depth discussions with its current and prospective graduates.
Last month, it was revealed that the UK’s big graduate programmes were struggling to attract female candidates, even though women were more likely than men to be successful if they applied to these schemes. At present, the reason for this is unknown.
*DOES BIG BUSINESS HAVE AN IMAGE PROBLEM WHEN IT COMES TO ATTRACTING GRADUATES?
Have you considered applying to any of the big graduate programmes? If not, why not? We’d love to hear what you think, so please share your views below – thanks!