Home#TTAReportsSAGEA 2017 Employer Benchmarking Study – Highlights

SAGEA 2017 Employer Benchmarking Study – Highlights

by Cathy Sims

The most recent SAGEA Employer Benchmarking study sought input from just under 100 leading and most reputable graduate employers.  The research reveals numerous trends around numbers of graduate vacancies, graduate starting salaries, how graduates are being targeted by employers, spend on graduate recruitment marketing activities as well as how graduates are being assessed, selected and, ultimately developed by employers.  This article will provide insight into some of the key trends around what we refer to as the “attraction” end of the graduate recruitment cycle.

Increasing graduate vacancies

There is good news for 2018 graduates – despite challenging economic times 13 out of 15 sectors plan to increase their graduate intake for 2018.  Accounting and professional services continue to be the largest recruiters of graduates, followed by retailers, investment banks and fund managers, and commercial banks.

Skills shortfalls

Despite over 180 000 graduates exiting higher education each year, there continue to be skills shortages at entry level with 29% of employers in our 2017 study not having filled all their graduate vacancies.  Shortfalls by functional area were noted in sales, merchandise planning, ICT, management consulting and electronic engineering.

Growing young talent

The growth and development of young talent is taken seriously by employers – as many as 66% of employers are providing some form of funding for University students as part of their equity and scarce skill people strategies.

Graduate starting salaries

Starting salaries for graduates have continued to grow above the inflation rate with the 2017 median graduate salary being R200 000 per annum.  It is important to note that some functional areas such as data analysis, investment banking and management consulting attract salaries in excess of R400 000 per annum.

Marketing spend by employers

Employers spent a combined R32 million on marketing employment opportunities to graduates in 2017.  A significant number, indeed – and therefore critical for employers to ensure that they are channelling this investment wisely.  Whilst career fairs remain popular at many of our Universities, there has been a definite shift in preference towards sector or career-specific fairs.  This leaves little doubt that employers are aiming to achieve a more targeted approach and are focussing their time and resources on areas where there are talent shortages.  Employer websites continue to be effective for promoting graduate opportunities and employer value propositions.  It is important to note, however, that graduates do need to be informed of job opportunities before they are likely to visit an employer’s website – so using social media as well as careers services and student career portals to alert students to opportunities remain important.

To read access a summary of the 2017 Employer Benchmarking results, please click on this link:  SAGEA Employer Benchmarks 2017.


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Executive Director, South African Graduate Employers Association (SAGEA)


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