I was very interested to read an article in The Guardian that highlights the intention of a significant number of UK Universities to increase their intake over the next few years. Reacting to the lifting of the student number caps almost half of the universities surveyed plan to expand their undergraduate programmes.
With the school leaver population continuing to fall until 2020 and universities repeatedly stating their desire to recruit the highest quality students for their courses, the HE recruitment landscape is becoming much more competitive. University recruitment teams will find themselves not only competing with each other, but competing with other schemes including apprenticeships and employers with their own direct entry school leaver programmes.
As an ex-graduate recruiter myself who has recently spent four years working in HE, I see many parallels between the challenges that universities will face and the problems that graduate recruiters have been tackling for years. Targeting strategies, keep warm initiatives, slick on-boarding and induction processes and a clear focus on the student’s early experience on campus will all help determine success for institutions fishing in an increasingly crowded pond.
And this raises two questions for me. First, what can universities learn from the expertise that employers and their suppliers already have? And second, how can graduate recruiters be involved in this process, supporting their university partners as they recruit the graduates of the future and generating early brand awareness for their own schemes at the same time?
Universities, employers, suppliers: I’d welcome your views?