NO GOING BACK? -The second half

24 March 2021

Student Marketing Bootcamp, February 25th 2021 

Inclusive Employer Branding  

In the second half, we started off by asking a range of employers to talk to us about some specific approaches taken to support their Inclusive Employer Brands. 

 Phil Wilson (Head of Diversity and Assessment at the Civil Service) talked about the wide range of interventions that they undertake to support the three pillars of their D&I strategy (attraction, representation and inclusion) including:  

  • Near miss programmes 
  • Positive action programmes e.g. Summer Diversity internship, Early Diversity internship and a three-week programme for young people with autism.  

 A key takeout from Phil was the discussion around “Disclosure” or lack of by LGBTQ+ talent.  The team have done a number of things to support students to feel safer in sharing or declaring their identities, such as 

  • Reassurance around why asking and what you are going to do with the information (it’s a safe and good thing)  
  • Using reps from the business to share personal experiences of having shared their sexuality within the organisation and the benefits 
  • Using videos of senior leaders to increase the profile of declaration and to highlight the importance  
  • Making the process of declaring in itself as easy and as accurate in terms of nominations as possible  

 Zoe Jenkins and Tate Smith from Clifford Chance shared the work that Clifford Chance have been supporting around engaging LGBTQ+ talent specifically including:  

  • The year long round commitment of their internal LGBTQ+ network (Arcus)not only during Pride or LGBTQ+ history month of February 
  • Seeing LGBTQ+ as a talent pipeline and not as a brand building exercise “not just sticking a rainbow on it” 
  • Building meaningful partnerships with external D&I partners where they co-create ideas to engage  

 Tate spoke about his experience of being a trans gender man in a law firm and praised the firm for putting their money where their mouth is in terms of not only making policies and practices more inclusive but the culture toowhose openness and friendliness made him feel safe enough to share his identity at work.  

 Laura Wilson from the NGDP Local Government programme talked about their approach to building out a more inclusive employer brand that has allowed the programme to move from 13.7% to 30% BAME representation in two years. A great achievement and one that Laura puts down to creating a fail fast culture in their ED&I work, some of which includes 

  • Shifting their university focus to an intersectional approach not just one dimensional  
  • The creation of BAME ambassador stories (with 106 Comms!)  
  • Unpicking the reality of the day to day role that many audiences didn’t understand  
  • Building more targeted activity with universities to reflect issues of their specific students 
  • Community outreach action 
  • Not seeing BAME as one homogenous group and having a forensic understanding of the differences in for example Black audiences.  

 We wanted to sense check the graduate market’s relative level of confidence in understanding the differences between different diverse groups and their career planning. Our Bootcamp audience poll suggests that 40% of the market are not feeling they have a handle on this differentiation.  

 At 106 Communications we believe that transforming student engagement starts with INSIGHT – if you would like to know more about how we can support you in better understanding the idiosyncrasies of specific audience groups then drop us a line for a chat by contacting 

The year ahead for employers 

Our final session featured an employer panel:   

Dan Doherty – Capgemini 

Matt Williamson – Teach First 

Laura Wilson – NGDP  

Steve LoPresti – Enterprise Rent A Car 

What will these brands be doing more and less of in 2021-22?  

  • Total agreement that digital will continue to play a massive role in graduate engagement next year
  • BUT some debate about a hybrid approach (campus and digital) versus digital only
  • Employers are likely to reach out face to face to engage students earlier in their academic cycles and to deliver that real tap on the shoulder to find talent in unexpected places.  

 We polled the audience on this same topic and asked will employers ever go back to pre-pandemic approaches?  

Our poll suggested yes, that 40% of employers will be doing the same if not more on-campus this autumn compared with pre-Covid. But, 50% of employers are planning to do less face to face and 10% replacing campus with virtual all together.  

 What will the biggest challenges be for 2021-22? 

How to attract those casual passers-by?  

  • Supporting earlier years of undergraduates who may have missed out on employability work due to the pandemic. An increased focus on pre-engagement does pay dividends according to Dan who sees that pre-engaged candidates are between 4 and 6 times more likely to succeed in the process compared with a speculative applicant.  
  • Managing expectations – some sectors and organisations e.g. Cap Gemini in Tech have increased their hiring numbers, others have remained relatively stable e.g. NGDP.  
  • But how do you a) maintain student confidence levels in the market without over promising.  
  • Being flexible and agile in-year to accommodate whatever the world might throw at us! 
  • Notable increases in students’ propensity to be mobile – but they will need more support with this.  
  • Location issues still remain e.g. rural locations or areas of depravity 

 If you are interested in talking about any of the issues or discussion points raised in our recent Bootcamp with anyone from the 106 Communications team, do get in touch with 

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