6 Key Considerations When Creating a Graduate Program | GradConnection

Posted by Sasha


Welcome to the third post in our 4 part series on creating your first graduate program! Graduate programs are structured, 2-3 year development programs designed to embed recent graduates into an organisation.

  1. The Value Graduates Can Bring to Your Organisation
  2. Building your Business Case for Hiring Graduates
  3. Attracting Graduates to Your Organisation
  4. Key Considerations When Creating a Graduate Program

Hiring fresh young university graduates to your organisation is both enticing and, no doubt terrifying. Some graduates are entering the workforce for the first time upon graduation and so need more guidance and training to make them ‘workforce ready’.

However, when you understand the gaps in graduate skills, knowledge, and experiences and can integrate them with the gaps in your organisation’s skillset, you can create a graduate development program that serves your long-term talent attraction and management strategy.

In our latest post in the series, we’ll take you through some key considerations when creating a successful graduate program.

Your graduate program is a long-term talent strategy

A graduate program is not a secret source for low-cost labour. A well-structured and executed program is a long-term investment in your company’s talent pipeline, in that it can:

  • attract quality applicants, most suitable to the environment
  • assess, identify and select the applicants most likely to succeed in a given organisation
  • build on the graduate’s base competence with a structured development program
  • provide graduates with real job experience to improve their technical capabilities and application
  • help graduates realise their career potential with company- and industry-wide exposure and mentoring
  • expose graduates to a range of roles and responsibilities within the organisation
  • coach and mentor graduates through the early stages of their career.

When developing your graduate program, you want to make sure you’re providing a balanced give-get arrangement that benefits employer and graduate fairly.

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6 Key considerations to ensure your new grad program is a raging success

Graduate recruitment is a competitive market and you may find yourself struggling against big budgets and brands and competing organisation priorities. So before you head off gung ho and launch your graduate program onto the world, there are six key considerations to help ensure your new program is set up for success.

  1. How will you build a brand in the graduate marketplace so graduates know you as a graduate employer?
  2. What are the long term benefits of your graduate program (how it fits in your organisation’s people/talent strategy)?
  3. How will you create and support a graduate culture within your organisation? Will you have the capability to sustain and manage annual intakes of new graduates?
  4. Can you meet graduate salary expectations? Graduate starting salaries are approximately $65k (plus super), depending on the industry.
  5. Have you considered timing to meet graduate recruitment and workforce planning cycles? Most graduate employers open applications in March and make final offers by May for next year’s program intake.
  6. Can you commit the time required to complete a full graduate program life cycle – Attraction, Selection and Development?

A graduate program is an ongoing commitment for your organisation. It’s important you understand the recruitment cycle, industry trends, and graduate expectations so you’re best able to develop and maintain a valued and meaningful program.

AAGE industry statistics to help you benchmark

Do you know what other graduate employers are doing?

Check out these key industry statistics to help you benchmark your own costs, performance metrics, and expectations.

  • On average, 43 per cent of graduates who started in 2013 were still with their employer in 2018.
  • The majority of employers (45%) provide a formal development program lasting 19-24 months.
  • Employers providing training and development are likely to make a total spend of between $1,001 and $2,500 per graduate (incl. catering, travel, venues, workshop materials).
  • The median number of applications received for 2018 graduate programs was 1,041.
  • For 2019, over half of employers (56%) spent up to $50,000 on marketing and attraction. In comparison, 38% spent the same amount on their selection process.
  • Employers are still visiting careers fairs, with 52% of employers rating them has ‘quite effective’ or ‘very effective’ in 2018.
  • The average cost per hire for 2019 graduates was $3,066 (total spend on all costs divided by number of hired graduates).

*Source: 2018 & 2019 AAGE Employer Surveys (you can purchase the latest survey to access industry specific data.)

Ready to develop your program?

Hopefully, you now feel more confident about your new graduate program. Once you have addressed these key considerations and benchmarked industry data, you’ll be better placed to create and deliver a sustainable and successful program.

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