How has COVID-19 affected employer recruitment plans

Guest BloggerAdvice, Graduates, Postgraduate, Sarah Collins

Here’s a blog post by Sarah Collins, Postgraduate Business Development Manager, Careers+Placements. It aims to give Postgraduate students and graduates an update on the feedback we’re hearing from employers about the effects COVID-19 is having on their recruitment plans. We thought it might help to know some of the plans they have now and for the future, as many of you are planning your own futures and wondering what might happen in the jobs market.

Hi everyone! Firstly, I’ll give you a little insight into my personal experience at the moment and the conversations I’m having, which are mainly around recruiting Postgraduate students. Then I’ll give you some info about the wider Careers and Placements Employer Team and the feedback we’ve been getting, as well as some information we’re hearing from other organisations collecting data from employers.

In terms of recruitment plans, my personal experience (mostly about Postgraduate Placements) has been really positive. The vast majority of businesses I’m talking to are still planning to offer remote working opportunities and are keen to hear about what they can offer students and graduates that will be of benefit and how they can support you. I’ve had several businesses get in touch to scope out new opportunities that they hadn’t planned to recruit before Covid-19 which is great news.

The wider Careers and Placements Employer Team have been spending extra time during the last few weeks reaching out to employers to find out more about their overall recruitment plans and how they are being affected by Covid-19. The majority of feedback we’ve received so far is that businesses are still planning to recruit graduates and placement students, just using different ways of conducting assessments and interviews remotely. Only a very small number have said they are pausing or cancelling assessments, and we’ve had employers that previously cancelled assessments that have come back to us to say they are beginning to recruit again, so overall it’s been very positive. We’re also finding lots of employers are keen to find new ways of talking to students and graduates to replace campus interaction such as webinars and online chats, so keep an eye out for these opportunities to connect with potential employers.

Employer Engagement Team

As we haven’t heard back from all employers, this overview may change in the coming months, although it’s very encouraging to have received lots of positive news so far.

The team have also been taking part in various webinars with other organisations that work with large numbers of employers like, for example, ISE (Institute of Student Employers). Some common themes across these are:

  • Employers are really keen to still engage with students and graduates so they are planning more virtual activities.
  • Most employers have moved assessment centres/interviews online.
  • Employers are working together to share information about the best ways to engage with students and graduates starting a new role so you feel connected and get to experience the company culture in the best way possible at the moment.
  • A number of employers are exploring where they might have student/graduate opportunities in other areas of their business if their normal roles can’t operate remotely.
  • Employers don’t want to reduce roles and are trying very hard to avoid it as they know it would have an impact on their businesses ability to recruit after Covid-19.

With lots of employers moving to online activities, it’s a good time to do some extra prep around online tests and telephone/video interviews. Our webpages contain lots of useful resources covering these topics. We do also have a range of online tools exclusively for Aston students and graduates which are hidden behind some locked pages. Once you graduate, your Aston student login details will no longer be active, but you can still access our tools if you need to. Simply email and a member of the team will help. Don’t forget to look out for our newsletters as well, as we will be sending you lots of tips and useful links of career-friendly activities you can do while social distancing.