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Graduate Recruitment and Attributes Survey December 2023


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This graduate recruitment and skills survey is the survey is the first to combine the findings of membership of six industry bodies: Manchester Digital; Manchester Publicity Association; Data and Marketing Association; pro-manchester; IAB UK and Chartered Institute of Marketing.

Executive Summary

Findings reveal how the use of particular words used when advertising graduate jobs, can result in the same pool of talent applying for those roles. Using techniques to reduce gender-coded words is a proven way to increase the number of applicants.

Round table discussion that explored these survey findings identified that student confidence is another barrier to graduate recruitment. It is known that students from less privileged backgrounds either lack the confidence to apply for certain graduate roles, or can often underperform during the recruitment process. For example, not understanding how assessment centres work, hence not applying or underperforming during one.

The survey and round table discussion was evidence of employers and universities collaborating very effectively. For example, mentoring, working on live client briefs, guest speaking, advertising graduate roles via university career hubs. There are many more examples and much more work to be done. It is intended that this survey and report provides more impetus as per the actions below.

Actions arising from the survey and Nov 2023 round table

A series of actions were identified to help industry employers and universities to make more impact.

  1. ‘Employ Me’ project [name to be confirmed]
    Jointly delivered with industry, this will focus on successful on-boarding of graduates and their early career development.
    Enabling more effective transitioning from full time student to full time professional
    Best practice being shared between the HE sector and employers
  2. Graduate Recruitment Toolkit
    Useful to any sector and professional association. The toolkit will become a living document containing best practice, and links to useful resources, that is updated as the work of this cluster evolves.
  3. Feb 2024 Webinar
    For those who could not attend the Nov 2023 round table, in addition to those who contributed to on the day. The focus will be on key themes discussed in the round table, actions taken as above and measuring the impact of our collaborative work.
Dr Jeff McCarthy
Senior Lecturer Digital Marketing, Manchester Metropolitan University
Faculty Graduate Outcomes and Alumni Lead
Faculty Employability co-Lead
Lead and Founder: Global Universities Forum of Digital Capability and Employability

By Jeff McCarthy, Senior Lecturer Digital Marketing

Manchester Metropolitan University

Manchester Metropolitan University Faculty of Business and Law (FoBL) is a triple accredited Business School and one of the largest UK Faculties. FoBL generates £96m income, a 68% contribution, and is home to 11,800 students and 364 academic staff.

The university is one of the largest in the UK with £369m total income and 36.5k students.
FoBL prides itself on being an outward-looking institution with a proactive and collaborative approach to employer engagement.

We are recognised nationally and globally as a leading educator of digital talent and skills. From pioneering Masters qualifications in Digital Marketing and in Internet Retail, through to being a leading UK provider of  Degree Apprenticeships.

Posted on: Thursday 4 January 2024