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  • Writer's pictureRonald Clancy

Universities: The New Frontier for Resourcing, Talent Planning and Diversity Enhancement

In an era marked by fierce competition for talent and a heightened focus on diversity and inclusion, employers are seeking innovative ways to attract top-notch professionals who can contribute to their organisations' success. One emerging trend in the world of talent acquisition is the increasing reliance on university students. A report by the Chartered Institute of Personnel and Development (CIPD) titled "Resourcing and Talent Planning Report 2022" sheds light on this growing phenomenon. This article explores how employers are turning to university students to tap into diverse talent pools, strengthen their employer brands, and foster innovation in the workplace.

The Changing Landscape of Talent Acquisition

The CIPD's report highlights a shift in the way organisations approach talent acquisition. Traditionally, employers have primarily focused on experienced professionals with well-established careers. However, the report suggests that this approach is evolving, with more companies recognising the untapped potential of university students and recent graduates.

Diversity as a Driving Force

One of the driving forces behind this shift is the imperative to improve diversity and inclusion within organisations. Companies are realising that by recruiting from universities, they can access a more diverse pool of talent, both in terms of demographics and thought diversity. This diversity can lead to a broader range of perspectives, ideas, and experiences, which can be invaluable for innovation and problem-solving.

The CIPD report indicates that organisations see university students as a key demographic to enhance diversity within their workforce. Many students come from different cultural, socioeconomic, and educational backgrounds, which can contribute to a more inclusive work environment.

Skills Development and Talent Pipeline

Employers are also turning to university students as a means of developing a strong talent pipeline for the future. By engaging with students early in their academic journeys, companies can identify and nurture talent that aligns with their long-term strategic goals. Offering internships, co-op programs, and apprenticeships to students allows organisations to groom the next generation of professionals, ensuring they possess the skills and knowledge needed for future success.

This approach is particularly beneficial for industries facing skills shortages or rapid technological advancements, such as tech, engineering, and healthcare. Companies in these sectors can collaborate with universities to design curricula that meet industry-specific needs and ensure a steady flow of skilled graduates.

Challenges and Considerations

While the trend of recruiting university students offers many benefits, it also presents some challenges. Organisations must consider the following factors:

  1. Retention: University students may have higher turnover rates than experienced professionals as they explore different career options. Employers need to invest in retention strategies and career development programs to retain top talent.

  2. Training and Development: Hiring less-experienced individuals means organisations need to invest in training and development programs to bridge skill gaps.

  3. Legal Compliance: Employers must navigate legal regulations related to internships, co-ops, and apprenticeships, ensuring they provide fair compensation and adhere to labor laws.

  4. Managing Diversity: While hiring from diverse backgrounds is beneficial, managing a diverse workforce effectively can be challenging. Organisations need inclusive policies and practices to ensure everyone feels valued and included.


The CIPD's "Resourcing and Talent Planning Report 2022" underscores the growing trend of organisations turning to university students as a strategic talent acquisition approach. Employers recognise the potential of tapping into diverse talent pools, strengthening their employer brands, and fostering innovation in the workplace. By engaging with students early in their academic journeys, organisations are not only securing a competitive advantage but also contributing to the development of future professionals and the growth of diverse, dynamic workplaces. As this trend continues to gain momentum, it is evident that universities are becoming the new frontier for talent acquisition and diversity enhancement.

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