Innovative Midland businesses can help safeguard their futures during the downturn by snapping up “exceptionally talented” graduates, it is claimed.
Jonathan Evans, managing director of Birmingham-based recruitment consultants Discovery Graduates, said organisations could use the recession as a “springboard for growth” by recruiting promising young talent.
And he fuelled the debate further by condemning The Graduate Market in 2009 report as “negative, misleading and potentially damaging” for the graduate recruitment market.
The latest Graduate Market report was recently released following a survey of the top 100 graduate recruiters by High Fliers Research in December 2008.
But Mr Evans said he was concerned by the implications of the report, and warned that it could mislead businesses, damage employer confidence, depress the graduate market and even discourage university applications.
The report said: “Britain’s leading graduate employers have reduced their recruitment targets for 2009 by 17 per cent since the latest graduate recruitment round began in September 2008.”
But by focusing on the top 100 recruiters only, Mr Evans said he believed the report only told part of the story.
“Many of the top 100 are financial companies, so don’t represent UK businesses as a whole. Obviously financial institutions will be cutting recruitment, so this skews the figures massively,” he said.
“Plenty of companies are still recruiting graduates into ‘real’ jobs, as opposed to structured graduate schemes, and this is not reflected in the report.”
Mr Evans urged businesses to use the current market conditions as a springboard for growth, citing the availability of previously unattainable graduates.
“SMEs and those outside the financial sector are facing totally different challenges and are actually bucking the perceived ‘trend’ in many areas, backed up by our own experience,” he said.
“In fact, companies outside the top 100 should be embracing this news as it represents an opportunity to snap up some exceptional talent, normally the preserve of top recruiters.”
He said businesses had a “clear opportunity” to trade through the recession and warned the report could “instil fear in companies that are planning to recruit.” He said he was “alarmed” at the long-term effects on the graduate market, and the impact on university applications.
“The reality is that many companies can’t afford ‘not to’ recruit graduates, as it will impact on their skill-sets and succession planning too much,” he said.
Mr Evans urged employers and graduates alike to see past the ‘doom and gloom’.
Discovery Graduates is now currently planning the launch of an online campaign, promoting “positive news” across the graduate sector.