A ‘niche’ problem
Oliver shares a strategy for attracting female students to science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) roles.
When we meet our clients they tell us the specific challenges they face in recruiting students; they’re struggling to hire for niche roles in niche locations, diversity remains a persistent pain point, as does attracting females to careers in STEM.
These challenges have been made only more challenging because there’s been a change in the student recruitment market. Students have changed. The marketing and attraction strategies that worked on Millenials are not nearly as effective in engaging Generation Z.
How does an employer not only engage with this new generation, but target specific groups within it?
Here I explain how our recruitment funnel that’s honed for the early talent space - the Early Talent Pipeline - has helped EY attract females for STEM roles in 2018, and better further, attract the best talent for the best return on investment.
The Early Talent Pipeline is a five-stage methodology beginning with ‘Attraction’.
When marketing to Generation Z, you first need them to opt-in. Whether it be through an event on campus, or digitally through an online form, you should always ask students if they wish to receive communications from your organisation. Generation Z expect communications to be personalised, persistent and permission-based.
When EY kicked-off its campaign, encouraging female participation in STEM, they sent Brand Ambassadors on campus to capture data from female students. The aim was to get students to share their preferences, such as their area of interest within STEM. When the student had opted-in, they could send them personalised and relevant content.
Now that EY had built a community (or pipeline) of female students, they had to keep them engaged.
According to Forbes, attention spans have reduced from twelve seconds for Millenials to eight seconds for Gen Z. This is why the second stage of the pipeline is ‘Engagement’.
To maintain engagement, you need to send students content that will educate and inspire them. EY curated case studies about female graduates on its careers website. They were real stories about real women working in STEM. ‘Meet Emilie’, for example, revealed the day to day activities of a graduate working in Technology Consulting at EY.
Next is the Consideration stage.
Students were actively interested in EY’s opportunities, but still needed a little more convincing before they would apply. Students were invited to a female-only event about careers in STEM, an insight day for them to meet professionals face-to-face and ask questions.
Even then, it is the habit of Gen Z to keep their options open. Students accept multiple offers. It explains the growing reneging issue. A ‘keep warm’ strategy is essential at the Assessment stage of the pipeline.
Candidates were invited to EY’s offices across the country to meet their peers, colleagues and get a sense of the office environment. The ‘keep warm’ strategy is the difference between a student choosing one scheme over another.
The results were impressive; emails sent to female undergraduates received an open rate of 37%, and a click-through rate of 20%.
Overall, this strategy was influential in EY’s campaign to encourage female participation in STEM.
The pipeline builds longevity into a cyclical process, ensuring a multi-year strategy can be built around it.
In addition, EY was able to track everything as soon as a candidate had opted in. It was able to identify the most effective methods of attraction and assess precisely where applications and hires came from. It provided the ability to refine its strategy for the future, measure and subsequently improve the return on investment of student recruitment.