Siobhan Kelly of Aon standing in front of a glass window.
Siobhan Kelly, Aon. Image: Shane O'Neill/ Coalesce

Early-stage retention a challenge for nearly half of employers, survey says

2 Dec 2022

An Aon and HPC report on talent retention among early-career professionals suggests that many companies are not maximising their recruitment strategies.

Irish employers are struggling to retain employees who are at early stages of their careers, such as interns, graduates and apprentices.

That’s according to a report by Aon and HPC, which suggests that many companies are using outdated hiring practices that have a knock-on impact on the quality of talent they hire as well as diversity.

Aon and HPC surveyed 34 large companies from more than 15 industries, which together employ approximately 150,000 people in Ireland.

Although 80pc of employers said their early-career programmes are important or very important to their recruitment strategy, 44pc said retention was the biggest challenge faced with these programmes.

Salary expectations, a lack of clear career opportunities and a desire to travel post-pandemic were the main reasons for early-stage professionals to leave their positions.

A July survey by Deloitte revealed that Irish millennial and Gen Z workers were largely pessimistic about the economy and concerned about the cost of living.

Almost three-quarters (71pc) of organisations surveyed by Aon and HPC listed salary and total rewards as their greatest financial outlay as they attempt to retain talent.

Almost 20pc of respondents said that competition around salaries was the biggest challenge they face in relation to their early-career programmes. One in five respondents have not reviewed their total reward packages, including salary, for early-career hires in 2022.

As well as salary, the report suggests that employers may be struggling with their recruitment processes, using outdated hiring and development activities.

It found that 90pc of companies’ programmes use a CV to support decision-making. But only around 10pc fully integrate the knowledge, skills and attitudes they identified as key for success into their psychometric assessments, and one-third of talent acquisition professionals are not competent in using and explaining psychometric results to the business.

Siobhan Kelly, director of human capital solutions at Aon Ireland, said that when people in the early stages of their careers are properly supported and nurtured, they “can serve as the building blocks of a next-generational workforce”.

“Our experience, knowledge and data tell us that while pay continues to be a key differentiator in retaining early-careers talent, it is no longer enough. To stand out from competitors in the context of full employment and ever-increasing uncertainty, employers need to first gain a clear understanding of why people are joining their organisation.”

Kelly said it was important for companies to have a strong employee value proposition to attract candidates in the first place. She previously addressed the challenges associated with talent retention in an interview with

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Blathnaid O’Dea
By Blathnaid O’Dea

Blathnaid O’Dea joined Silicon Republic in 2021 as Careers reporter, coming from a background in the Humanities. She likes people, pranking, pictures of puffins – and apparently alliteration.

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