Trends in Early Careers for 2023

30 January 2023

We are now one month into 2023, and I thought it was worth sharing 5 need to know Early Careers trends that will affect your recruitment efforts and shape your potential strategy this year.

#1 – enough jobs on the market

Despite us almost tipping into recession at the end of 2022 many labour market experts are predicting that the graduate labour market will continue to be protected from the ravages of a recession and be the least affected by a downturn. It will continue to be a candidate-led market with enough newly created professional-level jobs being created for every single graduate.

#2 – maintaining development opportunities

Although Early Careers recruitment is likely to be less severely impacted, businesses may face pressure on budgets with potentially reduced investment in areas such as training and work experience. Off the back of Covid and reduced work experience opportunities let’s hope both employers and HE can find new, innovative and cost-effective ways to keep their doors open to work experience. Particularly, when entry-level expectations remain high in terms of previous work and industry experience.

#3 – seeing Early Careers differently…

Given the tight supply of labour we are predicting that movement towards a new definition of Early Careers will hasten this year. Organisations seeking hard-to-fill roles, especially in areas such as tech are offering reskilling programmes to allow early to mid-careerers to pivot into those harder-to-fill roles. Our industry is no longer just about hiring 18- or 21-year-olds fresh out of education. Career changers are a key constituent talent pool with differing motivations and challenges.

#4 – back on campus but still engaged?

This autumn we have life returning to campus with strong enrolment numbers. However, despite the demand for one-to-one career support, explained in Graham Philpott’s ISE blog, beyond appointments Graham claims this autumn has definitely been a game of two halves.

Despite, there being a 25% increase in attendance at career workshops and employer events in September and October, November brought a dip in engagement. In fact, attendance at our career workshops and employer engagement events were about 50% lower than last year, 2021. And we aren’t alone; careers colleagues across the land are reporting similar tales. Academics and other support teams are reporting the same with respect to their lectures, seminars and events. Graham theorises that this is due to the competing priorities that students must contend with after being so used to experiencing Uni life in lockdown where there weren’t as many opportunities to get involved with.

Early Careers recruiters need to be flexible in their approach, and perhaps build in additional support for time management skills into graduate development programmes and prepare managers for the need to nurture the graduates through their first rotation.

As Graham eloquently states “the students’ potential hasn’t changed, and they are still as career-orientated as ever, it’s just their experiences to date that have been different.”

#5 – an invigorated interest potentially in T-Levels…

T-levels are new ‘level 3’ qualifications that will follow GCSEs and will be equivalent to three A Levels in UCAS point terms and equivalent to an Apprenticeship level 2/3. Courses have been developed in collaboration with employers to ensure that they meet industry needs and prepare students for work. Example courses include Digital; Digital Business; Services Digital Production; Accounting; Finance; Business and Administration. T-levels will offer students a mixture of classroom learning (80%) and ‘on-the-job’ experience (20%) during an industry placement of at least 315 hours (approximately 45 days).

Following significant engagement with employers and providers – On 10th January the government announced a number of key changes to the T-level provision that we are predicting would give employers more incentive to engage with the placement element of the T-level.

The new delivery approaches are intended to provide more flexibility, widen the pool of employers that can offer placements and help to ensure students can access high-quality and meaningful placements across the country, and across all industries, as the T-level programme continues to roll out, by better-reflecting employer working patterns and common industry practice.

Written by Jayne, our Early Careers Strategist


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