How employers manage global early careers campaigns

Mar 28, 2024 | Development, Home Featured, How-to

ISE’s Global Conference got under the skin of the benefits and complexities of running early careers campaigns globally, explains Nichola Robinson at AMS.

AMS supports over 30 early careers and campus programmes – both global and regional – with over 28,000 hires this season. At the ISE Global Future Talent Conference 2024 I had the pleasure of hosting a panel discussion with three of our clients – Barclays, Deutsche Bank and GSK.

Our panel are tenured global early careers leads who run recruitment campaigns and programmes across EMEA, the Americas, APAC and India. It was fascinating to get under the skin of some of the benefits, challenges and regional complexities of running early careers programmes globally.

Pros and cons

We heard about how a global early careers programme can provide the C-suite with a global lens on skills, diversity, and other key business drivers.

Bringing in an annual intake to pivot on skills shortages can provide strategic advantage and boost workforce planning efforts.

Different regions and locations bring different skills, and the ability to leverage multiple regions and feed this knowledge into the bigger picture is transformational. For example, the growing trend of recruiting apprentices in the UK across back and now front office investment banking roles, and the strong growth of technology hubs in India.

We know generation Z are globally mobile and expect to be treated like consumers, so selling a global product and introducing them to a global network resonates. There are also cost efficiencies around managing partnerships globally, streamlining resources more effectively and using tools and technology at a greater scale.

Disadvantages mentioned were the time spent on the internal politics and complexity. HR will drive for global consistency, but the business will often want the opposite, so finding that ‘glocal’ approach can be a challenge.

Additionally establishing a global footprint will come with global risk exposure and, particularly in the finance sector where managing risk is critical, this can be time consuming to get right. Also, consistent governance and controls will need to be in place and regulated.

From a marketing perspective, within countries, global brands can be diluted. For example, the top ten organisations regularly appearing in the High

Fliers research are often those with a strong in-country focus such as the Big Four, NHS and BBC. A brand will have different levels of employee attractiveness across the regions.

Operational challenges

The fact that different universities have different approaches can be challenging. For example, some of the legalities in EMEA mean universities can dictate salaries and how campus recruiting works in India in conjunction with the campus placement officers is complex.

Assessment also is different per region, so establishing a ‘one size fits all’ approach is often not possible. For example, online testing in the US comes with its own legal complexities.

Another challenge is the ease of hiring and retaining the campus recruiter skill set in countries where it has not been delivered as a specialism previously. Furthermore, with the number of stakeholders involved and the interconnection required, it can be complicated to get stakeholders to align and make decisions.

Data is one of the key benefits of a global campaign, however agreeing what to measure can be complex and needs to have some consistency across an often-divergent process.

The final challenge discussed was around diversity, equity and inclusion which has different meanings in different countries. We discussed the focus in India on gender and disability, which is different to the US and UK, so trying to find alignment in focus and reporting can be involved.

Advice to employers

I asked the panel about the advice they would offer for organisations who are looking to set up a global campaign. The key takeaway was that no one size fits all.

Consequently, it is key to focus on what your organisation wants to be consistent in and where it needs to be different. Bringing local embedded subject matter experts together as a global team with a common purpose is a great starting point.

Matrix ownership can be beneficial i.e., the US regional lead also manages attraction globally, the APAC regional lead also looks after data.

Alignment is of course valuable, but it is not necessary to shoe-horn countries into a global approach. For example, diversity will always need to be regionally sensitive.

Also, don’t underestimate the basics. For example, time zones for meetings and networking events.

We also talked about the importance of working through the balance between cohort hiring and ad hoc hiring as you gradually create some cohesion across the global offering.

As ever in the world of talent acquisition, it is challenging to balance the needs of the business and what works in recruitment. However, bringing early careers hires together in centrally managed cohorts, rather than on an ad hoc basis, provides the ability to space hiring out. Moreover, creating greater definition across the application process start dates and deadlines is beneficial as we increasingly see early careers recruitment stretching across the year.

I would like to reiterate my gratitude to our panel members for spending time with us and helping grow our knowledge around global early careers programmes.

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