Graduate Programs - will leading manufacturing companies continue to invest in graduates?

Graduate programs have traditionally been a great way for top university talent to get their start in industry.

However, employee loyalty is not what it used to be. So the question is, do manufacturing companies still get a return on their investment in graduate talent? Or do those high achievers leave that company for their next career development opportunity before they start to repay the initial investment?

For so many years graduates joined manufacturing companies keen to get a chance to start their career. They then built a strong loyalty to the company and spent the majority of their career, and in many cases their whole career, with that same company. This meant the company was able to achieve a significant return on their investment.

In today’s competitive market top degree qualified talent frequently moves from one company to the next when presented with career progression opportunities. Manufacturing companies that have previously invested in graduate programs are losing graduates to industry competitors. However if they rethink their investment in graduate programs it will negatively impact on the amount of top graduating talent flowing into the manufacturing sector.

With the ever growing number of challenges facing manufacturing companies they increasingly need to attract degree qualified candidates for their leadership positions.  Graduate programs can still attract that talent initially and, if managed and executed effectively, will help to ensure the retention of that talent within the company.

I hope the leading manufacturing companies continue to invest in graduate programs but, in an employment market that is becoming more and more transient, it will be interesting to see what the future holds.

Do you think it is still viable for manufacturing businesses to offer graduate programs? 

Stephen Montague 

Specialist Consultant Engineering