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Survey shows HR managers finding it tough to hold on to graduates

A new survey has revealed that more than two thirds of graduates are likely to leave their jobs as Britain starts ot emerge from the recession.

The poll, of 150 graduates in some of the country’s biggest firms, revealed that 67 per cent would leave their post before completing three years’ service.

Commissioned by the Inspirational Development Group, the survey also asked 65 HR managers/directors across a range of industry sectors, including banking, engineering, public and private their thoughts on employing university-educated workers.

The results revealed that almost half of HR managers said they had problems retaining graduates, with 22% reporting that on average they lose graduates within two years of their employment.

Almost 60% felt that there was more they could do to retain these graduates and three quarters of HR managers said most graduates left the company after less than four years’ service.

The research uncovered the many difficulties HR managers face in measuring the return on investment of graduate schemes.

While some respondents stated that graduate programmes had been scaled down, the majority of HR managers viewed stopping schemes altogether as a mistake that would lead to a disproportionate gap in the talent pipeline amongst new graduates.

A big effect of the recession has been a shift in application patterns, with the financial services seeing a drop-off and public sector organisations, such as the NHS, seeing a massive rise – 7,000 applicants last year compared with 16,000 in 2009.

Hana Searson, Head of Talent Management for IDG, said: “The information we have gathered highlights a lack of measurement in terms of return on investment and a need for companies to get better at identifying the right graduates for their business.

”It seems that many companies view the high turnover of graduates at this crucial two to three year point as inevitable.

“Organisations need to identify potential stars early on in their placements in order to map out clear plans to retain these individuals. It is not all about monetary return – the enthusiasm and fresh-thinking that graduates bring to an organisation is definitely beneficial and can be reaped throughout the duration of the graduate programme, even if individuals decide to leave once this is over. “

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