What students really think

Jul 27, 2020 | Attraction & marketing

Ben Triggs from Bright Network shares research on what students really think about their prospects during Covid-19 and how employers can support them.

Students graduating this year will be among the most widely affected by Covid-19 with unfavourable projections for employment. Bright Network has regularly surveyed its student members to find out not just what they think, but what we can all do to support them by boosting their employability and raising their confidence. Here are key takeaways from our latest research of 2,324 undergraduates.

Build confidence

Confidence amongst the student population has hit an all-time low during lockdown. In March this year, just 33% of students said they were confident about securing a graduate job after university, compared to 49% just two months previously. In June, it improved slightly to 36%, but there’s still more that can be done to support students at this time and give them the chance to develop during this challenging period.

Communication from employers is vital to building confidence. Four in five students said they felt they weren’t getting enough information from employers. It’s not peak application season for many firms and future hiring plans may currently be up in the air, but continuing conversation with students is vital. If you have e-learning resources or the time to run virtual upskilling events for students, this will support the effort to build confidence, gain positive brand recognition and also start to build your pipeline for years to come.

It’s easier than ever to create events online, allowing you to save money, time and resource, but also enabling greater accessibility to a larger number of students. While the networking elements may not be quite the same, that doesn’t necessarily mean students feel they are getting a worse experience. The majority (93%) of students want to take part in virtual events and 63% of those who have already attended one, rated them equally or even better than equivalent in-person events. We’ve seen this first hand, with over 12,000 student attendees joining our 13-part upskilling BrightLive series which ran the duration of lockdown.

Engage students with careers

Lockdown has changed behaviours across the world of work and this is no different in the graduate careers space. You can already see patterns emerging in how potential candidates are finding information and engaging with their career planning. During lockdown 82% of students surveyed used LinkedIn to further their prospects.

LinkedIn has made strides to attract a younger audience and lockdown has accelerated its growth amongst career-driven graduates. With networking increasingly taking place virtually, LinkedIn is the place where students go to connect and communicate how proactive they are being.

Today’s students trust their peers’ opinions and reviews, which presents excellent opportunities for employers. By giving your incoming graduates, interns and recent hires the platform to get your voice heard by students, you can elevate your brand. We’ve seen many examples where this has been effective, with graduate Q&As on Instagram video and posts showing how graduates and the rest of the business have adapted to working remotely.

As we move to the new campus season, we know much more will change and recruiting the next generation of talent will look very different this year. Read our latest research

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