The 2017 South African Graduate Employers Association (SAGEA) Employers of Choice and the graduates who selected them
By Cathy Sims
Now in their eighth year, The SAGEA Employer Awards celebrate the achievements of South Africa’s leading graduate employers. The awards are decided entirely by successful graduate job seekers who have received confirmed job offers from employers.
This is a unique group of graduates to track – of the 1 960 graduates that participated in our 2017 study, more than 60% received two or more offers to join prestigious graduate programmes. If you ever thought that hiring graduates would be easy, our research confirms that competition for the best graduates is tough!
Further insight into our group of graduates reveals the following:
- Three-fifths of successful graduates who have joined SAGEA member organisations come from five universities. The five are The University of Pretoria, University of Cape Town, University of the Witwatersrand, University of Johannesburg and the University of KwaZulu-Natal. As many as 16.2% studied at the University of Pretoria which is not surprising given that at last count they had just short of 70 000 students, but this also talks to the high quality of their graduates.
- This is a highly engaged group of students – whilst at University, 56% proactively sought work experience programmes offered in the market. Although we have observed this in our previous studies, this is definitely a growing trend. It is not surprising, then, that 36% of graduates had some previous work experience with the employer they ultimately joined. If they are not participating in work experience programmes, this group of students are actively involved in voluntary work, or are active members of student societies. This means they are availing themselves of opportunities to gain exposure to the real world of work whilst simultaneously developing communication, team work and diversity skills.
- Training and development, organisational reputation and long-term career prospects remain the key reasons that graduates are attracted to apply to potential employers. It is of critical importance to note that more than 60% of students base their final employment decision on the efficiency and quality of the selection process they have experienced with an employer. So, employers take note: as much as you are evaluating graduates, the same is happening in reverse!
- What do employers need to do to retain young talent? Well – we know what attracted them to join but this must be matched by employers delivering on their promise! According to our study, continuous development, good financial rewards and the acknowledgement of their valued contribution will influence young talent to stay with an employer.
SAGEA extends congratulations to employers who have been acknowledged through the 2017 SAGEA Awards Programme. These accolades come through the commitment, hard work and enormous energy of graduate recruitment and talent development teams.