The Graduate Skills Shortage inspires a fresh approach to talent at Legal & General

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Posting date: 11 February 2019

A recent survey from one of the largest job-boards in the UK, JobSite, showed that 60% of employers expect a skills shortage in Accounting & Finance over the next year. This is most keenly felt within London, where demand for employees in this space is 55% higher than the national average; and with the number of university applications stalling, this issue is only going to become more pressing.

Typically, graduate employers within the finance sector favour applicants from Business and Mathematics degrees. The problem is, while the number of jobs continue to rise, the number of graduates in these disciplines has dropped (-4% for business, -3% maths since 2017). In 2019, the ‘Big 4’ accountancy firms’ graduate hiring is expected to return to pre-financial crisis levels; but this is set to a backdrop of higher tuition fees, political uncertainty around Brexit and an increasingly competitive graduate employment market.

So what is the answer?

In the case of Legal & General PLC, the key is broadening their search to focus on the ‘potential’ of an applicant, rather than sticking to the well-trodden path of STEM degrees and perfect A Levels. Aside from a basic understanding of mathematics, their assessment criteria focuses on ‘an interest and desire to build a career in Finance’.

This approach to recruitment is echoed by Sharon Spice, director of global student recruitment at the Institute of Chartered Accountants in England and Wales, in an interview with the FT:
“Young people must impress with their willingness to learn, commitment and motivation. New recruits must show they can work in a team, communicate, solve problems and have commercial awareness.”

L&G – Finance Graduate Programme 2019

There is no shying away from the fact that L&G’s recruitment method is more time consuming than most. ‘Potential’ is not quantifiable in the same way as UCAS points; it can’t be auto-filtered and relies on human contact and judgement. However, for L&G, the result is worth the effort – fresh, motivated and resourceful talent that could otherwise have been easily missed.

Harvey Nash has partnered with L&G to deliver a graduate programme that places ‘potential’ as a cornerstone of the process. All applicants have the opportunity to add personality to their CV through a 6-question application form; telephone conversations with experienced consultants give them the chance to discuss their career aspirations; and a video interview is sent to L&G so that candidates can say in their own words why they believe they are well suited.

Following this, applicants have the chance to speak to one of the managers at L&G before being invited in to meet the team and discuss their application in person.

To submit an application, please click here.

If you'd like more details on the Programme, please click here.