Q As part of our recruitment strategy, we are looking to influence secondary and tertiary students in their career choice – what ideas do you have for doing this?
A.It is heartening that you are looking to
communicate with this segment of the
employment market – they are, of course,
our future talent. Most recruitment dollars
are sadly spent on reactive advertising or
other recruitment activity, and while this is
often absolutely necessary, it is also good
practice to take a longer-term view of your
talent attraction strategy.
The ideal is that you understand your fu
ture workforce requirements, invest in devel
oping your employer brand message across
key job categories and identified candidate
profiles, build an engaging and effective ca
reers portal and develop a communications
plan. Then it becomes a matter of channel se
lection and appropriate messaging to build a
flow of job enquiries over time.
But at what age do you start to market
your value proposition? I suggest at an early
an age as possible – in Britain, The Schools
Secretary, Ed Balls, is proposing to intro
duce careers information to seven-year olds
in selected English schools, and has £10
million ($18 million) to spend on innovative
Now that’s investing in the future! And
while it may seem extreme, it does suggest
that Britain sees that students at even this
early age are able to start thinking about
career options, and that that, in turn, might
influence their subject choices.
Throughout school, students are asked to
take optional subjects that are aligned to their
interests and by about year 10 (in New South
Wales at least) subjects selected do start to
steer them toward a path of some sort –
maths/science for example. This provides op
portunity for industry bodies and employers
to start talking to students who are showing
an interest in a particular field, and, hence, a
Of course by the time a student reaches
university, tafe or other colleges, their path is
more defined and it is then an opportunity to
be more employer-specific. There is evidence
that employers who create a positive profile
to tertiary students are then remembered by
students when it comes time to look for work.
The channels for doing this can range great
ly from; postcards in cafes around universi
ties, content or advertising on teen or youth
magazines or websites (careerchick.com.au
for example for young women), targeted ads
on social networking sites, use of specialist
publications (Burst magazine, for example,
is a career publication distributed to schools
and universities), and being present at ca
reer expos and fairs.
In this increasingly online and digital world,
the face-to-face interaction provided by expos
is arguably becoming more valuable than ever.
I recall my daughter a couple of years ago re
luctantly attending a careers expo with me but
getting into a conversation with a passionate
science lecturer – she has just completed her
first year of a science degree at the same uni
versity. Coincidence – I don’t think so. I sug
gest this is the power of the personal touch.
Along the way do not forget that parent,
teachers and careers advisors can be influ
ential, especially in the way they can direct
conversations, place articles in conspicu
ous places or suggest attendance at events.
How to reach them is another challenge!
By Kevin Lodge, Chief Executive of EOC Group. EOC Group is a company that works with employers and industry bodies on marketing solutions to recruit Australia’s future talent