Employers 'should reconsider hiring strategy'

Employers are failing to tap into a wealth of talent by only taking on the top graduates, research has found.

Talent analytics company SHL says that graduate recruiters should look beyond the top talent to tap into a mass of capable candidates with excellent potential.

They would then have access to a much broader range of candidates who can help drive long-term business performance, the report, which featured in HR Magazine, says.

By chasing the same pool of graduates and ignoring other candidates, recruiters are making the talent shortage in the UK seem worse than it is.

The SHL study examined trends among about 200,000 graduates since 2006, looking at their behaviour and associated performance and concluding that a new way of measuring how employable or otherwise a graduate is.

As part of SHL's suggested method, the top graduates are said to display above average ability for eight key characteristics, including enterprising and performing, analysing and interpreting, creating and conceptualising and organising and execution.

The other capabilities focus on the candidate's ability to engage. They are: leading and deciding, supporting and cooperating, interacting and presenting and adapting and coping.

According to SHL, these key behaviours are a more accurate way of measuring graduate employability. It said the odds of finding top graduate talent that displays the eight behavioural traits are just one in 15, but nearly four times that number show strong execution capabilities or engagement behaviours.

Speaking to HR Magazine, SHL chief science and analytics officer Eugene Burke said: "Recruiters are heavily focused on the best and brightest graduates and do not necessarily understand what is best for their organisation. This is creating unprecedented levels of competition in the graduate war on talent."

Burke said that there has been a gap for many years in what graduates offer and what employers want, but he said employers should look at investing in graduates with potential rather than solely focusing on the top talent.

"Recruiters must scrutinise whether they need the brightest graduates to fulfil future roles in the company, or even those that possess all of the behavioural traits which define top talent," said Burke.

"Given that one in 15 graduates are classified as top talent, we urge recruiters to reconsider their hiring strategy, reducing their emphasis on buying in this rare talent at a higher cost. Instead employers should focus on building talent acknowledging they will need to develop graduates existing capabilities from the outset through learning and development programmes."

Copyright Press Association 2013