Why global firms value graduate programs

by Chloe Taylor27 Jul 2015
According to Graduate Careers Australia, 92.4% of new graduates were in some form of employment shortly after completing their degrees. Of that total, 9.7% were working part-time while continuing to seek full-time employment, and 82.7% were in full time employment.

HC spoke to experts at global organisations about what they are doing to bring fresh talent into their workforces.

Herbert Smith Freehills, a leading global law firm, believes that attracting graduates is vital to the firm’s continued success.

“Recruiting the best and brightest graduates to join us is incredibly important to bringing new talent and fresh ideas into the firm,” said Jason Ricketts, managing partner at Herbert Smith Freehills Australia.

During the campus season, HSF spends a lot of time connecting with students directly, and has recently launched a series of in-house, commercially focused events which have received highly positive feedback.

“We offer graduates unparalleled training and development, access to the most interesting work for the top clients, as well as the opportunity to work alongside some of the world’s best legal minds,” said Ricketts. “This, combined with our team-focused and collaborative culture, is what we believe attracts graduates and keeps them engaged to continue their careers with the firm.”

Siobhan Savage, group talent acquisition executive at WSP Parsons Brinckerhoff, agrees with Ricketts that offering a work placement scheme is effective.

“There’s nothing like having fresh talent in an organisation, and we are active in the internship space, with 40 placements available this year,” she told HC. “This year’s program was designed to be fun and a little quirky – prospective candidates submitted selfies, and our interview followed a speed-dating style format.”

Internship placements, Savage said, show the company what the selected candidates are made of, and will expose the undergraduates to real-time clients and projects – with all of the issues, complexities, challenges and rewards that come with that.

“Our core values promote empowerment and accountability, collaboration and sharing,” she added.

“We also celebrate technical excellence. We feel we’ve got a lot to offer as an organisation, and we’re keen to tap into the creative energy and talent of undergraduates who, we hope, will be our graduate intake in the future.”

At Pernod Ricard Winemakers, graduate programs are important on a global scale for developing future employees.

“Graduate programs are important for two reasons,” said Christian Campanella, the company’s global HRD. “Firstly, they generate a talent pipeline for the business. We can bring people into our organisation fresh from university and equip them with the skills that we need as a company. Secondly, you’re bringing in a younger generation, which brings a different mindset.”

At PRW, there are two programs which run “under the banner of the graduate program”.

The first of these is a graduate wine ambassador program. This provides participants in Australia, New Zealand and Spain with experience across all divisions of the business.

According to Campanella, this helps the company to shape a potential future career for those who take part.

“Ultimately, they can be placed in roles in our key markets,” he told HC.

The second scheme offered to graduates by PRW is a winemaker graduate program.

“What we’re trying to do is bring in the new breed of winemakers,” Campanella explained. “It’s a two-year structured program designed to expose these grads to different countries of origin across Australia and New Zealand, and also different winemaking styles.”

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