Almost half of all Irish organisations see retention as the most critical challenge facing their early career programmes, with the majority of companies struggling to retain graduates, interns and apprentices.
Figures published today by Aon and HPC showed that 44% of employers across 15 industries reported difficulty in retaining young talent for several reasons, including competition from larger organisations, salary expectations, a lack of career paths, a desire for graduates to travel in the wake of the Covid-19 pandemic and an unwillingness for some graduates to move internationally.
Out of the organisations surveyed, 80% cited early career programmes as important, with many using pay and rewards to win the race for early career talent.
71% of companies listed salary and total rewards as their greatest financial outlay, followed by formal development offerings (56%) and selection and assessment processes (38%).
Furthermore, almost 20% of respondents noted competition around salaries as the biggest challenge they face in relation to their Early Career Programmes. Despite this, however, one in five respondents have not reviewed their total reward packages, including salary, for early career hires in 2022.
The report also revealed that many companies are using outdated hiring methods, impacting diversity and the quality of their hires, with just 10% of organisations fully integrating the Knowledge Skills and Attitudes they identified as key for success into their psychometric assessments.
Despite the challenges faced by organisations in hiring and retaining early career talent, the report also reveals that most organisations have yet to embrace the need for change over the coming two years. While 18 percent of organisations are seriously considering change, more than 50 percent of leaders have said they are equivocal about the need to change.
Commenting on the report results, Siobhan Kelly, Director of Human Capital Solutions, Aon Ireland noted early career programmes "as the building blocks of a next generational workforce," saying that that "data tell us that while pay continues to be a key differentiator in retaining early careers talent, it is no longer enough."
"To stand out from competitors in the context of full employment and ever-increasing uncertainty, employers need to first gain a clear understanding of why people are joining their organisation. This includes spending time on understanding and being clear on your Employee Value Proposition. A strong EVP is a key driver of candidate attraction and employee engagement, which in turn drives retention."