The end of traditional graduate hiring - Insights from AAGE23

I recently had the pleasure of attending the 35th annual AAGE(Australian Association of Graduate Employers) conference – aptly titled “Unconventional Pathway, Limitless Potential - A new approach to Early Talent”.

Having been to several of these conferences, I sensed a different energy this time. The buzz was real, and it's no wonder considering this year saw the highest number of delegates in attendance. As one attendee put it, "people are frothing for inspiration,". 

The landscape has evolved. We've shifted from discussions primarily centred on volume assessment tools and virtual careers fairs to the realms of skills-based hiring, future workforce strategies, and the ever-persistent question of AI's role.

So why the need for a more strategic approach to early talent this year?Here are some compelling reasons:

·      The talent market is fierce and competitive. By 2030, 75 million baby boomers will retire, and a staggering 87% of companies worldwide report having a skills gap or anticipate one soon. As organisations strive to "futureproof" themselves by hiring the brightest young talent, the importance of differentiation is paramount.

·      In 2030, Gen Z and Gen Alpha will constitute 45% of the workforce. Their needs, desires, and preferences are different, and need to be understood.

·      The use of generative AI is on the rise, and research indicates that Gen Z is adopting it at a faster rate than other generations. This raises questions about the integrity of our processes in a world of candidate and AI collaboration. Many organisations will need to reconsider their assessment and selection methods.

With these challenges in mind, here are my key takeaways from #AAGE23and what I think Talent Teams and Early Career Leaders need to be talking about now to stay ahead of the curve, and the competition.

·      The shift toward skills-based hiring and focus on potential ishighly encouraging. However, we must also prepare our leaders and students forthis transformation.

·      Understanding the desires of the future workforce is essential.McCrindle provided valuable insights into generational differences and the toppriorities for the future workforce: people, planet, and lifestyle.

·      Keeping Gen Z engaged will demand increased investments in training,fostering culture, and leading with empathy. It's a message for leaders toheed.

·      Providing support during the workplace transition is vital for graduatesuccess. This isn't limited to graduates alone; it extends to equipping managerswith the skills they need to support graduates to reach their fullpotential.

·      AI is a game-changer, and its rapid progress continues. Adapting our processes and guiding our leaders on the AI journey, especially as more students begin using AI, is now an imperative.

In these dynamic times, it’s great to have an organisation like AAGE bringing the industry together and creating forums to discuss and brainstorm these topics. I'm eagerly anticipating what the next 12 months will bring and how we'll navigate this ever-evolving landscape together.

If you want to discuss any of these topics or see how TQ could help your organisation navigate early careers strategies and hiring processes, please reach out.




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