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How can work experience opportunities help build your talent pipeline?

Kate Allen, Managing Director, Allen Associates

Work experience is a common rite of passage for young people in the UK, from secondary school pupils to college and university students, helping to inform their future career choices. At the interview stage, many companies look for evidence of work experience. However, when it comes to sourcing placement opportunities, the onus often falls on Candidates to identify and secure these. In reality, work experience benefits both parties, and should be an important consideration for employers. Here’s are just a few reasons why you should look at creating your own placements, internships or training programs to successfully build a strong talent pipeline.

An increase in reputation

More than four-fifths of the country’s top graduate Employers offered  paid work experience programmes for university students during the 2018/19 academic year. When we talk about ‘top graduate Employers’ we mean the companies chosen by students to feature in The Times Top 100 Graduate Employers list. It’s clear that there’s a correlation between offering placement opportunities and gaining a reputation as a desirable place to work. These organisations, which include the likes of Accenture, Deloitte, Bloomberg and Dyson, are demonstrating a commitment to the next generation of workers, and as a result, they’re attracting the best graduates.

Solving the skills shortage

New research from the British Chambers of Commerce shows that businesses are struggling to recruit for the skills they need. Out of the 1,100 companies surveyed, half of these said that it takes longer to recruit people compared to five years ago. In a separate study of UK business leaders, 39 per cent of respondents also said that young people applying for jobs don’t have enough experience of the workplace. If you’re finding it challenging to recruit for entry-level positions, why not consider hiring an apprentice or creating your own training program? By doing so, you’ll be able to make sure your recruits learn exactly what they need in order to succeed.

A faster, more effective hiring process 

When you commit to regular work experience placements, you’ll find that your hiring process benefits. By interviewing Candidates who have spent time within your organisation, you’ll already have a good idea of their capabilities and whether they’re a good cultural fit. These applicants have demonstrated an interest in your business and they’ve spent time with your team, which means that they’ll also have a better idea of what the job entails. Businesses who invest in work experience will see a higher success rate at the interview stage because they’ve already started to build a relationship with Candidates.

Encouraging diversity 

If you’re failing to attract a diverse range of Candidates, you could be missing out on potential talent pools. Take this as an example: There are currently 3.7 million people of working age who have a disability and a job, but a survey by charity Leonard Cheshire suggests that many experience difficulties in finding work. In fact, 30 per cent of people questioned in their survey said that they didn’t feel as though they were taken seriously as a Candidate. Companies with a diverse workforce often outperform their competitors, so introducing a work experience programme – which is open to all – is a great way to encourage this, bringing many benefits for you and your talent pipeline.

Consider older workers too

Work experience is typically associated with students or graduates, however, this doesn’t need to be the case. After all, it’s important to build a talent pipeline for all positions within your business – not just at entry level. In a changing employment market, switching careers has become more common and many people are working longer before retiring. Government data shows that an increasing number of workers over the age of 50 are benefitting from work experience. It seems that Employees are open to placement opportunities at many different stages of life, which is great news for Employers as these workers bring with them a wealth of skills and experience.

Over the last 20 years, we have grown as a business to become one of the leading independent recruitment agencies in Oxfordshire, and in 2018 have opened our first London office, to service Clients in the capital.

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