British Psychological Society occupational conference: Firms ignore 'timebomb' to compete for graduates

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The Independent Online
EMPLOYERS are still prepared to compete for the 'best' graduates by offering the biggest salaries.

Calls from the Government and elsewhere to spread the recruitment net much wider to cope with the long-term shortage of educated young people seem to have fallen on deaf ears.

The attitude of recruiters betrays 'considerable ignorance' of the 'demographic timebomb' which is destined to explode before the end of the millenium despite the prolonged recession, according to researchers at Sheffield University.

In a survey of 176 senior managers in organisations that regularly recruit graduates, the university found that about half would readily sanction the use of enhanced salaries as a means of attracting and retaining recent graduates. The authors of the study commented: 'These findings clearly indicate a growing number of organisations will undoubtedly seek to raise the financial stakes in an attempt to attract skilled labour at a time when such labour is in very short supply.'

More than a quarter of respondents said they had no idea whether there would be an increase or decrease in young people entering the workforce.

A further 36 per cent severely underestimated the reduction, the study found. One in 10 thought there would be an increase.

Two-thirds of senior managers displayed a 'worrying' refusal to countenance redeploying retired personnel to overcome the shortage of young people.