Why it’s worth giving graduates a go
EMPLOYERS looking for keen, passionate workers with a grasp on new technology should discard their go-to criteria of "three years' experience" and widen their search to include graduates.
More than one in 10 (13.5 per cent) bachelor degree graduates who want work do not find it within four months of completing their studies, QILT's 2017 Graduate Outcomes Survey finds.
Heather Warner, principal of HR consultancy WCA Solutions, said adding a graduate to the team could mean employers gain knowledge, understanding and adaptability with technology.
It could also be an opportunity to plan ahead for the future, as the ageing population meant Millennials needed to begin learning from Baby Boomers before they reached retirement.
"A great way to transfer skills through to Millennials is having both those demographics working together," she said.
"There are learnings from both sides and that can be beneficial for businesses."
Warner, who is currently working with two job-sharing graduates, said she looked for people with reasonable and consistent university marks and with some form of work experience.
"In some occupations you are really wanting the A student but mostly you are wanting solid marks that demonstrate commitment," she said.
"I am also looking for someone who has done a range of jobs - in retail, hospitality or something related to their career. Those jobs all require communication skills.
"I am more open to someone who has had a variety of roles, as long as they have been in each role for more than three months."
Warner said graduates should not be judged on the stereotype that they are unlikely to stick around as Millennials were "more loyal than people thought" and often stayed for five-plus years.
SEEK's Laws of Attraction research revealed Millennials and Baby Boomers equally valued the opportunity to commit to an employer for a long time, with job security rated as a top attractor by 11.1 per cent and 11.2 per cent, respectively.
WCA consultant Bridget Totterdell, who began working in recruitment while studying a Bachelor of Human Resource Management, said training a graduate was like fortifying wine.
"With the right conditions and commitment; the finished product will reflect the preparation process," she said.
"Therefore, you have the opportunity to shape the professional qualities and attributes of your newest recruit to suit your future business needs."
She said graduates also accepted an entry level salary in return for mentoring from industry professionals, providing a better financial option for businesses.
Helen Loffler, manager of student participation, research and development at Helping Hand Aged Care, said the main benefit of hiring graduates was the chance to work with people who were keen to make their mark and innovate.
"This is fabulous for the aged care environment where rapid change is occurring," she said.
"Bringing passionate and engaged people into your workplace is a brilliant outcome.
"Employee needs are ever-evolving, and we find that offering flexibility and the ability to be involved across the organisation keeps (graduates') active minds interested and engaged."
Loffler said many employers understood the benefits of giving graduates a go.
Helping Hand alone had employed physiotherapists, registered nurses, speech pathologists and exercise physiologists as graduates.
Two thirds of the organisation's exercise physiologists were graduates, including Georgia Perkins, whose role included setting up safe exercise programs and working with people with significant health challenges to undertake daily movement and exercise.
Perkins studied a Bachelor of Clinical Exercise Physiology at the University of South Australia and received multiple job offers after graduation.
"I chose Helping Hand Aged Care because I loved the environment and the team I would be working with, who I knew would offer great support and mentoring throughout the start of my career," she said.
"They also offer great flexibility in hours and the work is challenging, especially working with patients with dementia, which is very interesting to me."
Perkins said graduates brought the latest thinking to their specialty area and looked at work with fresh eyes.