The future of early careers recruitment is untapped talent

Mar 7, 2024 | Home Featured, Opinion, Sector & policy

ISE Fellow and Chief Progression Officer at Connectr, Simon Reichwald, considers the opportunity of untapped talent.

With the continued focus we are all seeing on diversity and the tight labour market when it comes to key skills, we at the ISE have started to look at all of the untapped pools of talent.

Future early careers strategy must be more than school leavers and graduates. This means returners, the over 50s (soon to be almost 50% of the UK working population), ex-military, ex-offenders, care leavers, the list goes on.

I’ve previously shared on Insights our experiences of how creating apprenticeships for the over 50s can open up a new pool of untapped talent, (there are lots more such pools!), as well as help boost social mobility.

Rob Fryer at Now Teach also shares his experience of hiring career-changes.

With the continued challenges a tight labour market for skills and significant inequity of access and progression for underrepresented talent, these untapped talent pools will:

• Provide a larger pool of talent, and in so doing reduce both cost per hire and speed per hire
• Show greater loyalty and thus reduce staff turnover
• Build capability in more of your existing employees

To successfully access, hire and progress these untapped pools, I know from experience with our clients, they are great, BUT approaching them like you would for lateral hires, just won’t work. They will ether not apply or self-select out.

We need instead to approach them as we do when we attract, hire, and progress early talent. Also, if we are serious about addressing these systemic challenges, we must come at this with the mindset that hiring such talent is not as a discreet project, but must become ‘business as usual’ talent acquisition.

I am committed to moving our thinking (and actions) on this as part of my role as Fellow.

Role of Fellow

In December 2022 I was invited to become an ISE Fellow. Our role, (like Board members), is an unpaid, voluntary one. It’s to inform and take ownership for key strategic pieces of work for the ISE, always focused on driving more and more value to members.

The invitation came after my three-year term on the ISE Board as Strategic Advisor for Apprenticeships. So, it was fitting that in my first role as Fellow, my focus is best summed up as ‘apprenticeships for all’.

Working with a passionate working group of members, we have led the ISE Schools Outreach report, are publishing new content on the levy and recently launched the ROI tool in partnership with BPP.

2024 focus

For 2024, the thing I’m most excited about developing is the piece around untapped talent. Here are some of the themes we will focus on:

• How we can draw on the attraction activities and supportive recruitment processes, that are needed and that we use in Early Careers, to encourage and support those individuals to come and work for you as employers.
• What do we need to do to set businesses up for success with these great, diverse and as yet untapped talent pools.
•Most crucial of all, how can we make hiring from these talent pools ‘business as usual’, not one off or side of desk projects!

Of course, with the continued growth of apprenticeships in early careers, my focus will not shift and I’ll be delving into that huge world of schools and colleges. How can employers work more impactfully and efficiently with them, to deliver what they need and also what schools and colleges need?

Please get in touch and let me know what you as members want when it comes to engaging with young people in schools and colleges – what one thing would make your life easier?

You may also be interested in…

Why early talent recruiters are set to become total talent recruiters

Apprentices are essential for future talent strategies

How will early careers recruitment change over the next five years?


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