The following insights are based on ISE’s interactions with employers during the period covered by this briefing.
Campus activities. Most firms expect a substantial reduction of campus activities. This means changing the way that they work with student ambassadors and societies and moving to virtual careers fairs and other kinds of interaction. Lots of firms also report pulling out of advertising in and contributing to hard copy publications that would normally be distributed to campus.
Virtual careers fairs. Firms are keen to participate in virtual careers fairs. There are a number of national providers who firms are negotiating with. There is less interest in directly working with universities on institutionally based virtual careers fairs.
Diversity and inclusion. The Covid-19 crisis and the shift to online provision raises a number of issues for diversity and inclusion. There is a need to think more about tech poverty and other issues related to digital access more. However, there is also the potential for the shift online to open up recruitment and attraction activities and make them more available to a wider cohort.
Summer placements. Many firms are not anticipating running summer placements. Some are offering virtual alternatives.
Existing offers. Most employers are planning to honour existing job offers for reputational reasons. But, many conceded that this might lead to more hires than are needed and have an impact on next year’s recruitment.
Candidate behaviour. Some employers are reporting that candidates were very uncertain about making decisions. Some were keen to ‘wait until Covid was over’ before they decide what they are going to do.
Induction. Some firms are pushing induction back. Others are planning to induct people online. Most do not anticipate that face-to-face induction will be possible, even if the lockdown has started to more convincingly end by then. The rationale is that virtual inductions can be made face to face more easily than the other way round.
Existing early career hires. Firms are still considering what they are going to do about their early career hires who are coming to the end of their training this year. There are concerns about whether there will be sufficient promotion opportunities and whether a salary increase will be able to be offered.