CIPD “Employers in IT and telecommunications face ‘highest turn down rate’. More than two-fifths (45 per cent) of graduate employers had one or more unfilled job last year, the Association of Graduate Recruiters (AGR) has found. Employers responding to The Graduate Recruitment Survey 2015 (Winter Review) said they had received an average of 74.5 applications for each graduate post.
But Stephen Isherwood, AGR chief executive, explained: “Many of the applications could almost be called spam, meaning employers have to just dismiss a lot of them because they’re highly speculative with no thought.
“Most employers will say there is not an issue with the number of applications in any sector. It’s the quality.”
And this is set to become a bigger issue as the survey showed that the number of graduate vacancies is expected to rise by 11.9 per cent this year.
The survey found IT and telecommunications employers had the most unfilled graduate vacancies, with 11.8 per cent of places remaining empty. This is despite each graduate role in the sector attracting 87.3 applications on average.
“The quality of some of the applications can be sub-standard,” said Adam Thilthorpe, director for professionalism at the Chartered Institute for IT.
“A scatter gun approach to applying for roles is not going to be sufficient. Applicants need to do their research and tailor their communications to suit the sector and potential employer.”
The survey also revealed that IT and telecommunications employers had a high ‘turn-down rate’ – which indicates how many positions are offered but then turned down by the candidate – of 22 per cent. This is the highest rate of any industry, and is much higher than the 14.4 per cent average across all employers.
Isherwood said pinpointing the one particular issue causing the unfilled vacancies and high turn-down rate is difficult. But he said that the tendency of UK employers to accept any degree subject could be aggravating the problem.
“That gives UK students quite a lot more choice but it means employers who might be recruiting engineers are also recruiting against accountants, consultants and law firms,” he said. “That variety and great choice for students makes it harder for somebody who’s looking for specific skills.”
Thilthorpe added: “The best and most promising graduates, with a blend of academic excellence, obvious employability and team fit, will find themselves in strong positions and probably able to choose from a range of options.”
But, the average time between people applying and receiving an offer in the IT and telecommunications industry is just seven weeks, compared to a 13-week average for all employers.
“When you talk to employers, they will say, the longer the gap between application to offer, the more likely you are to have people drop out along the way,” said Isherwood. “Having said that, if somebody has gone through the process of 13 weeks and then accepted the offer, they’re probably going to be pretty committed to you as an organisation.”