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Recruiters ignore graduate job hunting habits

Recruiters pour money away as graduates shun traditional media when job hunting

  • Graduates spend 80% of time online and only 20% offline when job hunting

  • Yet graduate recruiters still spend the same amount on paper-based ads as online

  • Only 17% of graduates use social networking channels when job hunting

  • 72% barely or never use recruitment consultants

Searching for jobs in newspapers and magazines is all but a thing of the past for today’s graduates, yet recruiters continue to spend the same amount on print advertising as on online recruitment, according to new research by GradFutures.com.

The research revealed that nine out of 10 graduates (92%) believe that searching for jobs online is more effective than browsing through newspaper adverts; and this is reflected in job hunting habits.

Despite these findings, the latest data* from the Association of Graduate Recruiters (AGR) shows that employers each spent on average £15,000 in 2009 on paper-based ads – the exact same amount as was spent on online promotions. And this wastage is set to continue, as graduate recruiters expect the spend on each of these channels to remain static in 2010.

Graduates head online to find first job

Online sites are by far the most popular destination for graduate job hunters – 70% head to recruitment websites as their first port of call, while only 3% turn to print media.

During their job hunt, the median proportion of graduates’ time spent online is 80%, as opposed to just 20% spent offline.

Ian Sprackling, CEO at GradFutures.com, comments: “Graduates now make a beeline for recruitment websites and largely ignore printed media to find a job, which means there is a huge opportunity for recruiters to increase engagement by aligning marketing spend with the activity of their target audience.”

When job hunting, more than two-thirds (67%) of graduates barely or never look at advertisements printed in national newspapers, regional or local newspapers (68%), or industry magazines (70%); while more than three quarters (76%) barely or never look at ads in student newspapers.

In comparison, nearly eight in 10 graduates (78%) regularly use dedicated graduate recruitment websites in their search for career opportunities, while nearly nine out of 10 (88%) go to employers’ own websites, and just over half (56%) say they use general job websites.

Graduate recruitment spend misplaced

The AGR figures also show that more than a quarter (27%) of graduate recruiters do not plan to use online jobs marketing channels at all this year. Less than half that amount (13%) of the same companies plan to avoid print advertising.

Ian Sprackling says: “Recruiters need to respond to the change in graduates’ job hunting habits and spend a greater percentage of marketing budgets online where they will reach their target audience more effectively.”

Graduates avoid social networking sites for job hunting

Interestingly, although the vast majority (92%) of graduates regularly use social networking sites, less than a fifth (17%) use such channels to help them find a job, according to the GradFutures.com study.

Ian Sprackling comments: “We have seen numerous reports recently about the explosion of recruiter spend with social networking gurus.

“But graduate recruiters should tread carefully in this space, as less than a fifth of the latest crop of young talent are actually using sites such as Twitter and Facebook for job hunting.”

Recruitment consultants given a wide-berth, while events remain popular

Only 3% of graduates will seek out a recruitment consultant as the first port of call and nearly three quarters (72%) barely or never use a consultant at all when actively seeking a job.

The majority (58%) don’t feel recruitment consultants are useful for graduates, as they focus on experience rather than education.

However, graduates do seem keen to interact directly with potential employees, as careers events remain relatively popular. Nearly two thirds (65%) visit career fairs held at their university, with nearly half (45%) expecting to find a job as a result of attending a graduate careers event.