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The Must-Know Student Recruitment Trends for 2019 | What We Found in APAC

Samir Khelil March 22, 2019

The pressure to secure top talent in an organization has always been a daunting task. When Millennials shook the workforce, it became even more complicated as their aspirations are different than previous generations. Then came Generation Z. And, headlines hint toward the entire process becoming even more challenging.

We set out to get a real grasp of what we can expect for student recruiting. Our goal was to figure out exactly how recruiters can be more adaptable to upcoming trends by identifying them, addressing challenges and offering innovative techniques to mitigate them. We reviewed anonymous application data from 1.7 million candidates applying to graduate programs in businesses across finance and professional services.

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Our process

In conducting this study, we took the following into consideration:

  • Numbers of applications versus numbers hired and numbers screened out

  • Levels of candidates self-withdrawing from application processes

  • Gender and ethnicity balances among those who are hired

  • Overseas interest in graduate roles in the UK and levels of success

  • What candidates declare as their source for choosing to apply

With the help of Universum, we also used extracts from the 2018 Talent Insight reports series. Specifically, we concentrated on responses from 3,479 business students across Singapore and Hong Kong (2272 and 1207 respectively). This is what we took into consideration:

  • Student aspirations for what they want to do next after graduation & career goals

  • Characteristics that define the attractiveness of an employer among students

  • Favored communication channels for employer messaging

  • The prominence of social media for employer messaging

APAC student recruiting in 2019 - a preview of our key findings

We reviewed anonymous application data along with Universum’s extracts from their 2018 Talent Insight reports series. Here are three noteworthy findings and analysis:

1. “Competition to be hired is stiffer in 2018 than it was in 2017. In our last report, 2% of applicants went on to accept offers whereas in 2018 this has slightly fallen. Finance and professional services average at just 1% success (hired) rates.”

Competition is stiff and it’s becoming even stiffer. With only 2% of applicants accepting offers (1% in finance and professional services), recruiters must be in tune with the latest trends, technology and best practices in order to be certain to hold the attention of top applicants.

2. “Overseas hiring also remained broadly similar to 2017. Canada, USA, UK, France, Canada and Italy consistently appear in top countries outside of the APAC region where applicants want to be based in Asia-Pacific for a first job – with around 10% successfully being hired and moving to the continent. APAC employers appear able to entice overseas interest in different working lifestyles combined with the philanthropic and tourism opportunities available across the region.

APAC employers remain attractive to overseas candidates. Millennials and Gen-Zers are looking for more than a decent salary. Sometimes, what they are looking for is a unique experience. APAC has remained enticing because of tourism opportunities, philanthropic opportunities and overall a change in work lifestyle. This is likely to continue as Millennials and Gen-Z take over the workforce.

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3. “Where data is collected, 82% of all hires in APAC declare themselves as ‘Asian’ and 16% do not declare or say Other. This leaves just 4% for White, Asian or Mixed despite high numbers of international workers starting their career in the Asia-Pacific region.”

With this finding comes confusion. There are high numbers of international workers in the APAC region, as seen in the previous noteworthy finding. But, where are they? The majority of graduating candidates identified as ‘Asian’ in their applications and 16% do not declare or say Other. Just 4% of the applications collected are left to be attributed to White, Black or Mixed race despite high numbers of international workers starting their career in the Asia-Pacific region.

Implementing the trends

Most student recruiting trends will vary between the UK, US and APAC. However, some are similar across the board. The findings of the full report show just how tough competition is to hire the best talent in graduate recruitment. Candidates are more empowered than ever before and employers have to work extra hard to secure the candidates that will prosper in their organization and help deliver business growth.

Getting a hire wrong isn’t only costly, poor hiring can lead to lower productivity, reduced levels of employee morale and engagement and ultimately more attrition. It is a vicious circle. Knowing what worked well in the past can help to fine-tune the types of candidates that carry high favor within a firm.

When we combine the knowledge of what occurred in the past and the trends we see for the future, we become better recruiters. Ready to dive into the rest of the must-know student recruitment trends for the APAC? See the full report here!

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