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New year's resolutions for student employers in 2020

2 January 2020

2020 party glasses

Every year we make new year’s resolutions, but what if we were able to make some resolutions for the whole student recruitment market? In this blog Tristram Hooley, Chief Research Officer for the ISE, suggests some resolutions that student employers should make in 2020. 

New year's resolutions are funny things. A mix of a promise, a wish and a plan. I always resolve to eat more healthily, exercise more, say no to people more often and work less. Mainly I don’t keep to these things, but once in a while the act of making a resolution gives me a springboard to make a real and lasting change in my life. 

I think that it would be a good idea for everyone in the student recruitment world to take some time at the start of the year to reflect on what they do and consider what they might want to change. Each of you are likely to come up with something different, but here as some possible resolutions to get you thinking.

  • Spend all of your apprenticeship levy. ISE members have steadily been increasing the amount of the levy that they’ve been spending, but most are nowhere near getting out what they pay in. It would be great if 2020 was the year that we really saw the explosion in apprenticeships that we’ve all been waiting for. Of course, there is room for the government to do a lot more to make this happen!
  • Make the most of digital marketing approaches. Most ISE members are still printing reams of stuff and visiting loads of university campuses. But, we’ve started to see some members take a more digital approach. This is probably not right for everyone, but now is a good time to think about whether the way in which you are doing marketing and attraction is really fit for purpose and making the most of the new digital world.
  • Broaden and deepen your engagement with education. Careers fairs have a special place in the heart of our industry. Rocking up at a university campus, setting up a stand and talking to lots of students can offer good bang for your buck. But, it is fairly superficial way to engage with students and education. This year think about whether you should be engaging with more and different (e.g. schools or different kinds of universities) educational institutions. Also consider whether there are some deeper, more substantive, form of engagement that might engage higher quality candidates in your process. 
  • Improve the evidence base about different selection approaches. If we are honest, we really don’t know enough about the relationship between the selection approaches that we use and the performance of candidates on the job. This is a ridiculous state of affairs as we are all collecting so much data on performance in selection and in role and it should just be a case of putting the two together. 
  • Start taking disability and neurodiversity seriously. Most employers now have targets around diversity on gender and ethnicity. There is a growing understanding that recruitment practices need to take account of socio-economic background and some really innovative practice around sexuality and gender identity. But, the diversity agenda is lagging behind when it comes to disability and neurodiversity. Let’s try and make 2020 the year that this changes. 
  • Rethink your approach to international students. With Brexit about to finally happen, you are about to find that a lot of high-quality European hires have suddenly become international students. In the post-Brexit world hiring internationally and applying for visas is likely to become a lot more routine. Your firm needs to have a clear approach to how you are going to tackle this. 
  • Embed development practices more solidly into the business. ISE members offer great development opportunities for new staff. But, how well integrated is your development programme into your business? Are your line-managers engaged and reinforcing the messages offered in induction? Do new hires get the opportunity to reflect on what they have learnt, consider what to do next and input into future development of the programme? This year is a good time to ramp up the level of engagement in your firm. 
  • Get more involved in the ISE. The ISE offers research, events, consultancy and so much more. Now is a good time to consider whether you are really making the most of your membership. You can sign up other people in your firm for free and share the love around. You can also get discounts if you refer other firms to become members. Make this year the year that you get active in the ISE and boost your professional development and your firms performance.