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AAGE Conference 2009

Posted by David Jenkins

A Quick Recap of the AAGE 2009

I really enjoyed the AAGE conference this year, and from what we have heard, it appears that the majority of the 330+ delegates had positive views of the industry sessions and social events available over the three days. Dan is up in Brisbane this week, but is planning a blog post with a summary on the industry sessions at the AAGE, and also a bit of a piece on the AGRIAs for 2009, but in the mean time I thought I would put out my views on the AAGE candidate and employer surveys.

AAGE Candidate Survey

  • Approximately 1700 successful graduates were surveyed
  • Reneging on offers is still high 14% of the 1700 grads surveyed accepted an offer and then reneged on it later on

It is always extremely frustrating to have graduates renege on offers, but what is most amazing is that the rate of reneging still remains extremely high. I have to wonder if this is partly the fault of the marketing habits of the graduate recruitment industry, where the metric still seems to be “the more applications, the better”.

Employer's survey

  • 185 Graduate Employers around Australia Participated in the survey this year.
  • Big news was that there was a drop in vacancies in 2010 by 22% from 2009 levels. This means that there are now a similar number of graduate roles available as in 2006.
  • The 2 largest sectors by a substantial margin are still Federal Government with around 22.8% of graduates in the survey coming from this space followed by 19.9% in the Accounting sector.
  • 17% of employers pay more than$75 per application!

We all knew about the circa 20% drop in graduate vacancies in 2009, and all predicted the growth in the federal government graduate programs, however I never expected the number of graduate jobs in federal government to ever exceed that of the accounting industry. It will be interesting to see if this changes in the 2010 survey. It is amazing the amount of money organisations and graduate recruitment teams are spending to get graduate applications, with nearly 1 in 5 spending more than $75 per application. Contrast this to the amount organisations are spending on online campaigns. The amount is trivial compared to the spend on careers fairs and print media. I wonder how this is going to evolve over the next few years considering every graduate is online.

GradConnection @ the AAGE

It was great to be at the AAGE again this year, with our stand and our sponsorship of the after party. It gave us a chance for people to see who was behind the curtain of GradConnection, and gave us the chance to show a number of new faces exactly how GradMaker worked. We really enjoyed the Social evening sponsored by NGA.net, although I think it could have easily gone on for an hour or so longer! The photo booth idea was brilliant, and I will be hoping to talk to Karen and Steve about how they thought it went for them. The gala dinner, which was sponsored by Unimail was also quite a bit of fun, although we had to leave early to go and setup the after party so we missed most of what went on after the awards.

The highlight for me, although maybe slightly biased, was our after party which went until around 3am. Apart from having to get heavy and kick a couple of gate-crashers out, and the police coming to tell us we needed to take all our glow sticks down, it went through without a hitch. Ainsley, Ben and Paul thought it was the biggest turn out ever to an AAGE after party, so that is something we're quite proud of. We must give a big shout out to Ainsley from OneSteel who put up with our nonsense, the orbit bar managers nonsense and the police to make sure the night went as smoothly as possible. Thanks! We ended up going back to the office for our GradConnection after-after party which went till around 6am. I also heard that a few people made their way to Kings Cross. A few tired, shady faces at the AAGE on Friday!


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