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| 4 minutes read

How to go global with your early careers strategy – learnings from the 2024 ISE Global Conference

I had the pleasure of hosting a panel discussion with three of our AMS clients, Barclays, Deutsche Bank and GSK at the 2024 Institute of Student Employers Global Conference last week.

Our panel are tenured Global Early Careers Leads and run recruitment campaigns and programmes across EMEA, the Americas, APAC and India.  It was fascinating to get under the skin of some of the benefits, challenges and regional complexities.

What are the advantages and disadvantages of running programmes globally?

My first question to the panel was around the benefits and disadvantages of running Early Careers programmes globally.

We heard about how a global Early Careers programme can provide the c-suite with a global lens on skills, diversity, and other key business drivers.  Bringing in an annual intake to pivot on skills shortages can provide strategic advantage and boost workforce planning efforts.  Different regions and locations bring different skills and the ability to leverage multiple regions and feeding this knowledge into the bigger picture is transformational.  For example, the growing trend of recruiting apprentices in the UK across back and now front office investment banking roles, and the strong growth of technology hubs in India.  

We know Generation Z are globally mobile and expect to be treated like consumers so selling a global product and introducing them to a global network resonates. There are also cost efficiencies around managing partnerships globally, streamlining resources more effectively and using tools and technology at a greater scale. 

Disadvantages mentioned were the time spent on the internal politics and complexity.  HR will drive for global consistency, but the business will often want the opposite so finding that ‘glocal’ approach can be a challenge.  Additionally establishing a global footprint will come with global risk exposure, particularly in the finance sector where managing risk is critical. This can be time consuming to get right and consistent governance and controls will need to be in place and regulated.   

From a marketing perspective, within countries, global brands can be diluted, for example the top ten organisations regularly appearing in the highfliers research are often those with a strong in country focus such as the big 4, NHS and BBC. A brand will have different levels of employee attractiveness across the regions.


What are the operational challenges?

I then asked the panel about the operational challenges of running a global early careers campaign.  We covered off multiple factors.  The fact that different universities have different approaches.  For example, some of the legalities in EMEA where universities can dictate salaries to be paid and the complexity of how campus recruiting works in India in conjunction with the campus placement officers.  

Assessment also is different per region so establishing a one size fits all is often not possible. For example, online testing in the US comes with its own legal complexities.  Another challenge is the ease of hiring and retaining the campus recruiter skill set in some countries where is has not been delivered as a specialism previously. 

Furthermore, with the number of stakeholders involved and the interconnection required, it can be complicated to get stakeholders to align and to make decisions.  Data is one of the key benefits of a global campaign but agreeing what to measure can be a complex and needs to have some consistency across an often-divergent process.  

The final challenge discussed was around diversity, equity and inclusion which has different meanings in different countries.  We discussed the focus in India, on gender and disability which is different to the US and UK so trying to find alignment in focus and reporting can be involved. 

What advice would you give to organisations looking to set up a global campaign?

The third question I asked the panel was about advice they would offer for organisations who are looking to set up a global campaign. And the main advice was that no one size fits all.  Consequently, it is key to focus on where your organisation want to be consistent and where it need to be different.  Bringing local embedded subject matter experts together as a global team with a common purpose will be a great starting point.  Matrix ownership can be beneficial i.e., the US regional lead also manages attraction globally, the APAC regional lead also looks after data. 

Alignment is of course valuable, but it is not necessary to shoe-horn countries into a global approach e.g. diversity will always need to be regionally sensitive.  Also, a reminder not to under-estimate the basics e.g. time zones for meetings, and networking events.  We also talked about the importance of working through the balance between cohort hiring and ad hoc hiring as you gradually create some cohesion across the global offering.  

As ever in the world of talent acquisition it is a challenge to balance the needs of the business and what works in recruitment however bringing early careers hires together in centrally managed cohorts rather than on an ad hoc basis does provide the ability to space hiring out.  Moreover, creating greater definition across the application process start dates and deadlines will come with benefits as we increasingly see early careers recruitment stretching across the whole year.

I would like to reiterate my gratitude to our panel members for spending time with us and helping grow our knowledge around global early careers programmes.

At AMS we support over 30 early careers and campus programmes, some global and some regional and have supported with over 28,000 hires this season.  If you would like to talk to us about how we can support you, contact us.


ams, candidate attraction, diversity equity inclusion, early careers and campus, employee enagagement, employer brand, financial services, high volume hiring, innovation, talent acquisition