Updating Results

Key takeouts from the 2022 AAGE Conference

Grant Robson

Head of Employer Partnerships at Prosple
The 2022 AAGE Graduate Recruitment and Development Conference was back in person, with hundreds of employers, universities and suppliers attending the Melbourne event. The theme of the conference was ‘stand out from the crowd’, and the thought leadership topics definitely did the theme justice! Below are the Prosple team's key takeaways from the conference.

Competition for graduates is the number one challenge employers are facing

Arguably the hottest topic of the conference was the decrease in application numbers this year, with many employers falling short of their hiring targets. A decrease in the number of students, coupled with an increase in the number of employers hiring graduates has resulted in a “candidates market”.

The solution? There were many great ideas discussed, including;

  • Employers accepting applications from international students
  • Recruiting from outside universities, including TAFE and alternative educators like General Assembly & Academy Xi
  • Adopting an “always on” recruitment strategy

Rolling recruitment is here to stay

Employers both large and small are starting to adopt a rolling recruitment strategy to ensure they capture students applying for jobs throughout the year. We’ve seen this trend play out on the 50+ Australian job boards we power. Previously, March was always known as “graduate season” and August “internship season”. However, students' search and application trends have changed. In the below graph, you can see that pre-covid (blue) March was still the peak for applications, followed by August.

Application numbers pre & post covid

However if we look at application trends in 2022, in August (red) students were applying for nearly as many jobs as they were in March.

How are employers responding to these changes? They are adapting their approaches by either opening EOI’s (expressions of interest) or simply recruiting throughout the year, taking a “rolling recruitment” approach by opening applications for a variety of campaigns. This means they are able to engage with various cohorts of candidates who are searching in different periods and applying for work, even if they have already accepted an offer.

Why do candidates drop out of the process, and how to ‘keep them warm’?

Never before has the Australian graduate recruitment market seen such high decline and renege rates, with some expecting renege rates to hit 25% this year! It begs the question, why? As part of Fusions' presentation, David Cvetkovski made the point there are a number of factors that influence why candidates drop out of the recruitment process. Interestingly, results vary depending on whether or not the recruitment process is done virtually or in person.

So, how do you develop a ‘keep warm’ strategy that ensures students turn up to assessment centres and don’t drop out of the recruitment process? David from Fusion says “Employers keep warm strategies are integral to ensuring that students don’t drop out of the process. That’s why we recommend the following approaches to our clients:”

  • Include candidates in company newsletters and emails
  • Send care packages
  • Introduce a buddy program
  • Create Facebook or LinkedIn groups
  • Share ‘day in the life’ videos/articles by current graduates
  • Arrange in-person or virtual office tours
  • Provide them with templates to share that they have accepted a job at your company on LinkedIn

What matters most to Gen Z?

A trend that was discussed at length was the changing wants and needs of Gen Z. Prosple recently shined a light on these changes in student behaviour, collating the past 5 years of AAGE candidate survey data which shone a light on the ever-changing student priorities. So, what matters most to students?

  1. Content of work
  2. Compensation and benefits
  3. Opportunity for career progression
  4. Company culture
  5. Employer reputation

You can read more about these trends and insights in this blog.

Simplify the assessment process

We all know it’s a struggle for employers to attract and hire enough graduates and interns. In fact, it's the main concern amongst employers when it comes to recruiting graduates.

Spending more on student attraction is definitely one strategy. In fact, it’s likely essential as multiple and year-round campus campaigns become the norm.

But how do you fund it if there’s no budget? Peter from GradSift says that it’s time for employers to make a strategic call. “Attraction is where it’s needed, so reallocate funding away from assessments and selection.”

Here are Peter’s top three tips on how employers could approach this:

  • Ask incumbent and other assessment suppliers for competitive pricing or alternative assessment solutions. That includes RPO providers.
  • Relook at the number of assessment steps, the value gained from each assessment and its cost. Is an assessment that causes a large drop-off or deters applicants from applying really adding value? Similarly, are the cut-offs applied to psychometric assessment results valid predictors of candidate performance for the employer? 
  • How many applicants need to participate in an assessment eg. video interview? Can an assessment be staged later in the process with fewer applicants and lower cost? 

In a candidate short market, recruitment needs to be an easy and streamlined process for applicants. For employers, a streamlined process will reduce assessment and temporary labour costs, save HR time and should see more applicants make it through to hires.


Again, it was amazing connecting with everyone in person once again. For those that weren’t able to make the conference, we hope the above is helpful!

We are also offering a limited number of strategy sessions in which we help you set up your 2023 grad recruitment strategy for success with the backing of internal stats and insights. To book your spot get in touch with [email protected].