Early career, Develop an early career talent program, Early career talent

How an early career talent strategy can help you weather economic uncertainty

There’s a feeling of unease and apprehension as we transition to 2023. Economic uncertainty due to a recession, a tight labor market and—inversely—massive tech layoffs, combined with a triple-demic of COVID 19, the flu, and RSV, have many companies taking a pause. 

This holding pattern organizations find themselves in is unusual because there is still a strong demand for talent. Even companies under a hiring freeze recognize key roles must be filled to keep the business running. So instead of an abrupt halt, many companies are simply slowing down.

This slower period presents a unique opportunity to be strategic. It’s a chance to think critically about hiring and talent needs and brainstorm intentional, thoughtful, and smart solutions. 

An early talent program is a smart investment 

During an economic downturn, budgets often take a hit. Executives take a hard look at numbers and look for ways to cut costs. Often, hiring experienced full-time employees and providing benefits is not feasible. This is where an early career talent program is a financially-sound decision. 

Recruiting early career talent through informal apprenticeships 

Work-based earn and learn informal apprenticeships are a great method for building an early career talent pipeline. You’re training talent to fill a certain role, and all the while, they are contributing to the company. 

Apprenticeships give early career talent the experience, skills, and workplace exposure needed to launch their careers. It’s full-time, hands-on, on-the-job experience that sets talent up for career success. For employers, it’s a low-risk investment with a high reward when partnering with an apprenticeship program solution provider, offering employer of record services, upskilling and wraparound social services, and professional coaching as a turnkey hiring solution. In the model, the apprentice knows your organization, your processes, and culture and can easily integrate into the team and be hired upon program completion. 

An informal apprenticeship program is also a proven approach to recruiting and hiring traditionally underserved talent. Apprenticeships provide a pathway for nontraditional talent who don’t have four-year degrees, professional networks, or access to resources and jobs that offer family sustaining wages and career progression. 

If your organization prioritizes hiring diverse talent and is working toward diversity, equity, and inclusion goals, that shouldn’t take a backseat during an economic downturn. An informal waged-based apprenticeship program will ensure progress toward DEI goals continues. 

Accenture’s commitment to early career talent 

In 2017, Accenture launched the Apprentice Network in Chicago, together with other companies, to kick-start professional apprenticeship programs nationwide and are continuing to expand across the country. 

In 2020, Accenture was the largest employer of YUPRO Placement talent in a year of layoffs, hiring freezes, and shutdowns. Accenture has now onboarded over 2,000 apprentices. As part of their commitment to growing and scaling professional apprenticeships, Accenture exceeded their fiscal year 2022 goal to fill 20% of entry-level roles with apprentices in North America and are proud to have extended that goal through fiscal year 2023. 

Apprenticeship programs are redefining the future of talent and represent a new method of sourcing talent into professional roles that can address numerous issues companies care about such as managing talent shortages, developing skills, increasing diversity, and balancing social inequities. Those employers who commit to bridging the talent gap and creating pathways to full-time employment will be the ones who win the war for talent.

A partner to build your early talent program

Recruiting, hiring, and managing early career talent doesn’t have to be your burden to bear. Your organization can reap the benefits of a skilled, diverse workforce by partnering with YUPRO Placement. 

With YUPRO Placement as your company’s apprenticeship program provider partner, you don’t have to worry about headcount limits, providing health insurance, or offering supplemental services. YUPRO Placement handles all of that for you. 

Often this project-based type of work falls under a different budget, making it an easier internal discussion to upper management. Upon completion of apprenticeships, talent may continue in a project-based contract capacity if permanent roles aren’t available. And when full-time positions do open up, your company has a ready to work pool of talent who know what’s expected.

Finally, during difficult economic times, talent can face challenges outside of work. Family needs, transportation, and mental health can all be impacted. YUPRO Placement provides wrap-around supports for all apprentices to guide them through personal and work struggles. This is a weight taken off the employer’s shoulder. Talent is supported, taken care of, and provided necessary resources to emerge out of difficulties even stronger. 

Arise from uncertainty with continued momentum

While it can be tempting to table all hiring and talent acquisition discussions until the economic storm passes, you’d be crushing the momentum you’ve built. It will be much harder to start your talent engine back up if you stop efforts now. And by the time you do get back up and running, you’ll be behind the competition. 

Additionally, the pace of baby boomers retiring is accelerating. Companies need to build a network of talent to fill those gaps. Now is the time to develop your workforce for the future.

By building a pipeline of early career talent, you’ll be nimble and agile enough to respond to whatever 2023 and beyond brings. When business picks up and budgets expand, your trained, reliable talent are ready to step into open positions. If a slowdown continues, you’ll have the ability to flex up or down as needed. In the meantime, you won’t lose progress toward goals, you’re building relationships with skilled talent, and you have a partner to lean on for support.

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