Handshake at RecFest 2022: uncovering Graduate Employer Priorities

July 19, 2022

There ain’t no party like a RecFest party! Our feet are tired and voices hoarse after several days of walking the Knebworth fields and talking with so many people, but it’s fair to say that the Handshake team had a great time at RecFest 2022.

We had hundreds of people visit the Handshake ball-pit and get involved in our competition to win personalised Vans, and we served plenty of drinks to thirsty attendees - but the real highlights for us were the inspiring conversations we had with the recruitment teams planning for the months ahead.

Promisingly, we found an optimistic group, who reported that graduate recruitment is on the rise – but who also believe that employers need to work harder than ever to attract and retain the best talent. The people we spoke to highlighted the need for more collaboration between industry and academia, together with the importance of building longer-term relationships with students – moving away from sporadic recruitment processes towards more continuous engagement.

This was a sentiment echoed in our own session for attendees - where Chris Anthony, Head of Employer Sales at Handshake spoke alongside CEO of ISE Stephen Isherwood and Head of Student Talent Attraction & Acquisition at EY, Rebecca Foden to a full-to-capacity tent of 385 seated, with many more standing. An engaging session discussed Graduate Employer Priorities for the next twelve months, and launched a brand new piece of research into employers’ most pressing ambitions and challenges.

As well as looking at the practicalities of creating a sustainable talent pipeline, we were able to reveal the motivations behind increasing the number of grad hires in the coming twelve months, looking at factors such as supporting company growth, the growing realisation that hiring graduate employees is an indispensable part of the budget as they represent good value.

The great news is that the full report we discussed at RecFest is now available for free download. Get your hands on a copy here.  And that’s not all! This new study comes hot on the heels of the ‘Careers 2032’ report from Handshake, Wonkhe, AGCAS and the ISE, which looked at the longer term picture of graduate recruitment. The final chapter of this in-depth report is also now available to read - grab your copy here!

So, it was great to see so many of you at RecFest and while we’re now giving our feet a much needed rest, we’re also looking forward to a busy few months ahead - as we help innovative and forward-looking employers deliver on their recruitment ambitions. Tell us how you found the event - we’d love to hear from you!