Employers nationwide are missing out on diverse and valuable talent that could enrich their teams due to the presence of unrealistic recruitment barriers, according to CEO Malcolm Kinns of Generation Australia.
Generation Australia joined with Microsoft and Accenture at an event on 2 November to gather some of the most influential corporates in the country to seek a solution and start asking the right kind of questions around the barriers currently faced by so many prospective employees – Australians who would prove to be active, engaged workers if they had access to the right opportunities.
Generation supports people who are unemployed, under-employed or at risk of unemployment, including women (particularly in the tech industry), parents returning to work and First Nations peoples. The event saw influential corporates discussing their own hiring strategies and workshopping ways to improve employment outcomes for these marginalised groups.
“Does every job require a degree and ten years experience, or could we consider developing customised programs, which prepare candidates for entry-level jobs to pave the way for rewarding careers without overqualification,” Kinns said.
Generation released a report earlier in the year, which surveyed employees and recruiters across the tech industry, and the primary revelation was: to repair tech’s broken job ladder, employers should radically rethink how they approach the very first rung.
At the core of the research was the discovery that nearly two-thirds of employers we surveyed (62 per cent) are investing in entry-level tech talent pipelines through methods like onboarding, mentorship, and internship programs to increase the size and diversity of their talent pools and to enhance profitability. Despite these intentions, employers are struggling. More than half of employers surveyed (52 per cent) said their company is finding it challenging to hire for entry-level tech positions. And 62 per cent said that recruitment processes for entry-level roles need to change.
“The business case, established in our survey, for radically rethinking work- and education-based barriers to entry-level hiring is clear,” Generation Australia said in their report. “Our survey found that employers who introduced additional degree and work experience requirements in pursuit of efficiency actually ended up spending 13 per cent more on recruiting entry-level talent than those who chose to remove some requirements. In other words, redefining requirements to open the funnel pays off”.
The Generation program has been tested globally in over 17 countries, with over 70,000 graduates from their programs. In 2022 alone, more than 10,000 learners graduated from a Generation program, with 49 per cent of those graduates being female.
“We are just about to graduate our one hundred thousandth graduate across the network, and also, alongside that, those graduates will have earned a billion US dollars since they graduated and have been placed into employment,” said a spokesperson for Generation Australia at the event.
Generation’s programs around the world are proof that people without degrees, STEM backgrounds, or work experience can be successful candidates for entry-level tech roles, allowing companies to fill vacant spots more quickly while also introducing more diversity into their teams. “Across our tech graduates, the majority (55 per cent) do not have a university degree—and those who do typically do not have a science, technology, or math-related degree. Within 180 days of program completion, 79 per cent of Generation graduates get placed into a job,” said Generation Australia in their report.
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