The Conundrum Of Keeping The Best Talent In Town

by Hayley Fletcher

29th August 2016

Last month Thorpe Molloy commented on how the hiring landscape is impacting newly qualified accountancy professionals. Since that post we've become sharply aware of the shifting attitude of finance graduates as they TURN DOWN offers of employment in favour of work in other cities.

These graduates are first class and I felt disappointment at their decision to leave the city because they genuinely believe their career prospects are brighter elsewhere. This is further compounded by graduates who are choosing to take time out to travel rather than secure employment in a depressed market, a great personal adventure but also another route out of the city.

This post might infuriate the graduates who are finding it very hard to secure employment because they are competing not only with their peers, but also with job seekers who have qualification parity plus a couple of years' experience. Without a job offer they naturally look out with the area. Companies from the central belt, recognising the opportunity, are adopting targeted advertising to entice our local talent away.

It's no big news that graduates are often transient, too young to have developed ties to one location. But historically, Aberdeen's had the reputation of being a young professionals' city, now two thirds anticipate leaving in the next 5 years (PwC Northern Lights 2016).

Despite the candidate surplus employers need to work hard to attract the best graduate talent. To do this effectively might involve completely revising your hiring and induction strategy. Managers and senior leaders need to make themselves available to this burgeoning talent pipeline as graduates expect face-time with your company's influencers, and they remain focused on career planning, employee development, a flexible work environment and mentoring.

It is a conundrum for employers who feel they cannot commercially justify changing their hiring practice, but if we are to keep our best talent locally it is not only the city that needs to remain attractive, but our job opportunities too.

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