What is the state of global early career hiring in 2024?

Jun 12, 2024 | Home Featured, Research, Sector & policy

A new report reveals key trends in early career hiring across the globe, explains HireVue.

Early career talent is unique. These candidates are just starting out in their job search and have limitless potential in front of them.

But with macroeconomic factors biting hard, rearview HR processes creaking at the seams, and the emergence of new technologies, it is a complex landscape.

In a first of its kind report, derived through industry body data from The Institute of Student Employers, The National Association of Colleges and Employers, and The Australian Association of Graduate Employers, we analysed independent survey data from around the globe and three clear trends stood out:

● Assessing skills is becoming the dominant approach for early career talent
● Hiring teams are relying less on past experience or GPA
● AI use is growing among students and recruiters

Our ISE and HireVue Webinar: Unlocking Potential in Graduate Talent took a deeper dive into these trends.

Key trends revealed in the report:
The global graduate recruitment outlook

The early careers job market is holding strong with traditional industries showing the most resilience

ISE data shows that early career roles are forecast to grow by a rate of 5% in 2023/2024 in the UK. Despite a cooling jobs market and economic uncertainty, graduate vacancies grew 6% in 2022/23.

Our report also found that the 2024 job outlook for the U.S. shows overall hiring is projected to dip by 1.9%. It is important to note that this is down from the last two years when the college job market reached record levels.

And Australian employers experienced a 6% increase in graduate roles in their programmes in 2024 compared to 2023 and demand for early career programs as a source of talent remains strong.

A global shift to skills
A clear movement towards hiring based on specific hard and soft skills

In the U.S. less than 40% of employers reported that they are screening candidates by GPA this year. The top-rated career readiness competencies continue to be communication, teamwork, and critical thinking skills.

More than half (54%) of UK employers expect to move to a recruitment approach that focuses on evaluating candidates based on their skills, rather than their education or past work experience. The top in-demand technical skills include IT/digital, accounting, and engineering.

Only 30% of Australian employers in 2024 felt examination results were ‘very important’ or ‘quite important’ to assess during the selection process (down from 38% in 2022). Australian employers are embracing apprenticeships and cadetships as pipelines for talent alongside their graduate and intern programmes.

Global recruitment resourcing
There are fewer or the same number of recruiters to handle increasing applications

U.S. employers said they had 7.2 recruiters in 2023 (down from 9.0 reported in 2022). The average number of days between the candidate’s first interview and getting a job offer, or being notified they were not being considered, rose to 25.1.

In the UK, graduate applications per vacancy increased through 2023, up by 38%. In Australia the average number of applications has almost doubled, rising from 16 in 2023 to 30 in 2024, suggesting that globally, recruitment teams are being asked to do more with fewer resources.

Employers in Australia are focusing heavily on shortening their processes to get offers out in a competitive market, whilst still maintaining candidate care and keeping candidates engaged post offer. This has helped to increase the number of employers with a recruitment process that takes two months or less by 7%, compared to the 2023 Employer Survey.

The global acceptance of AI
AI is cautiously being adopted in the hiring process and its use is gathering pace

The adoption rate of AI varies across sectors in the UK. Sector-based ISE analysis highlighted that the Energy, Engineering, & Industry sectors used AI the most at 45%.

The majority (83%) of U.S. employers reported that using AI increased speed and efficiency in the recruitment process, increased the ability to analyse large volumes of data (64%), and allowed them to automate repetitive tasks (59%).

In Australia, just 16% of organisations currently use AI in their recruitment process, mainly in screening applications, psychometric assessments, and screening video interviews (37%).

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