UK Employer Panel Part 2: Video Transcript

Title: UK Employer Panel Part 2
Duration: 22:28

Kate: Apologies for that, I think there may have been an issue potentially with the Wi-Fi, with the connection. I'm hoping that everybody can still hear me. I think the panellists might just be re-joining. Apologies there for that drop out, I'm not quite sure what happened there but hopefully everybody can hear me and everybody's made it back onto the webinar. I'm not sure how much of that you heard, my colleague Cate who's also on the call has said it seems like they've had an issue as well, so I think it must be an issue on campus here, so apologies for that.

I just wanted to talk around any general advice that you might have for students kind of looking to succeed in the UK jobs market and in their applications, you know, how can they prepare themselves for recruitment processes, and is there anything that they can do whilst they're still here, maybe whilst they're studying, to kind of develop their skills and their experience. I don't know who wants to take that one first? Kritika do you... yeah Kritika go first?

Kritika: So I think right off the bat I want to mention soft skills, because a lot of international students coming from different countries do not understand the concept, and they also, again, they underplay how much value their soft skills can bring to the table. So soft skills are highly transferable across geographies, across sectors, across job roles, and you already are proving that you have those soft skills like teamwork, like resilience, your communication skills, your networking skills: you have come all the way from your home country to the UK to study - that's a big step in itself. Just by virtue of that you have proven that you have multilingual abilities, you have communication skills, you are high... you have this adaptability, you have change management skills. You can demonstrate all of this in applications, and that's what can set you apart from a sea of applications where everybody has probably the same qualifications - if you can demonstrate that you have these soft skills that can give you an edge. So that's one thing - I think I really want to shout about soft skills all the time because from what I notice, employers really value that part of it. And the second thing I think would be gaining any sort of UK-based experience, and that's not necessarily just because you get ahead in your application process, but also for your personal confidence because you might have, you know, 10 years of experience in your home country, but when it comes to the smaller nuances of working in a UK workplace, you know, those small things. To give you an example, in a lot of Asian countries it's very common to address your bosses and managers as Sir or Ma'am and you would notice at careers fairs and the first time students meet a lot of employers they are actually addressing them as Sir or Ma'am, and so a lot of employees and hiring managers are actually taken aback by it, because that's not necessarily the norm here. And so it's things like those that you pick up when you immerse yourself in any sort of professional environment. So even if you start by volunteering somewhere - there's a charity shop down the line - just go and see if you can volunteer, just get a sense of what it is like to work in a UK professional atmosphere. What is that environment like? So you can pick up these details and it will just enhance your personal confidence, so when you sit for an interview next time you'd have a lot more context clues than you would without this kind of experience. So whether it's student societies you can gain experience in, it's volunteering, it's small work experiences, or if you can actually reach out to someone and shadow them at their work that would also be interesting, to just get that kind of experience.

Kate: Yeah really really interesting points there, thank you for sharing those. Henna, did you have anything to add at all on that?

Henna: Yeah just really great points that exactly I would just say as well about the soft skills. Like I've already said, we don't necessarily look for experience so it's them strengths. Now how can you show that you've got them strengths? It's through demonstrating you have them skills, so a lot of them skills you've also gained at university. So on your course what have you been part of - have you delivered a presentation, have you worked on a dissertation and an essay that you know required you to be really critical? Have you had to analyse information, interpret complex information, problem solving, being resilient - like Kritika mentioned - these are all skills that we are looking for, so just don't worry too much about not having a, you know, a four-week internship already or having work experience in a specific profession - it's really demonstrating them skills, and them skills can really shine through at the different stages. So that video assessment at interview stage, you know, the partners, our colleagues, they're just looking for you to demonstrate that you have them skills. So please don't worry too much about not having tons of work experience! There's a lot of different opportunities out there, you know, like Kritika mentioned, going out and volunteering, you know, even within the University as well - societies. So yeah loads of opportunities for you to build on those strengths.

Kate: Yeah excellent points. Thank you so much both of you. There's a question actually in the Q&A section about whether KPMG accepts interns as well? So I don't know, Henna, you haven't had the opportunity to talk about the opportunities that you have at KPMG - did you want to touch on that?

Henna: Yep so we have loads of different opportunities at KPMG. For our internship programs, however, you have to be in your penultimate year. So my advice would be have a look on our website for each of our programs - so we have our vacation programs, which are our internships, and like I said, they are for penultimate year students - so you need to meet that entry requirement. So if you're in your final year you can't apply for that vacation program. That's a four-week paid internship program, and we have that in all of our different areas - so audit, tax, deals, tech. For all of you who are final year students or who are on a postgraduate... on a master's, you can apply for our graduate roles which are live at the moment, and so you can apply for any of our three-year graduate programs, and like I mentioned before, most of our graduate programs have a qualification attached to them so it could be the ACA, the CIMA, the CFAB, that you'd be studying alongside working. So my advice would be yep have a look online - there's different programs but I think the main program that the attendees here today might be interested in are our graduate programs, or potentially our vacation programs, if you are penultimate year.

Kate: Fabulous, thank you very much. We're getting questions in thick and fast now into the Q&A section. Cate was there one that you had picked out that you particularly wanted to answer? If not I can pick another one at random. Okay so somebody said, 'What's the difference between graduate roles and general full-time roles, and do graduate roles always lead into full-time roles?' I think speaking very generally and please do correct me if either of you think differently - graduate roles generally mean that you are recruited onto a graduate scheme, a graduate program. So that might mean that you're recruited as part of an intake with other graduates and there may be some sort of formal training or on the job training that you will do. Some companies might offer rotations where you're rotated around different parts of the business. There maybe very set criteria that you have to meet in order to join the graduate program, and there may be a very set kind of program in terms of, you know, it will take place over two or three years. Sometimes with other, you know, kind of non-graduate roles - more direct entry roles - it will mean that you're recruited into a specific role. So you might not have the opportunity to move around as much, although that really does depend on the company that you join. It really depends on what you're looking for, you know, what you want to be part of. So I guess the best thing to do on that is just kind of do your research when you're making an application. What does it mean when you apply for this role, what are you actually applying to? I don't know if anybody has anything else to add on that? Okay. Somebody said, 'Does salary at KPMG change based on location?' - I don't know if you have that info Henna?

Henna: Good question, so yeah I think that I've seen that question specifically with London, yep we do have London weighting. As you can imagine London's our most popular office. We have tons of applications, so if you are interested in applying to the London office please make your application soon. Kritika mentioned a rolling basis - that is exactly the case, so we do recruit on a rolling basis, however we've already closed some of our service areas because we've already attracted the talent. So my advice would be apply early, not only if you're applying to London, even Birmingham, you know, most of our locations are very competitive, so get your applications in early. The way I think of it is, if you're on your Masters right now, and you've just got a year and you'll be finishing next September, if you apply now and you secure a job - for the rest of the year you're just kind of working on your Masters, you don't need to worry, you've already got a few offers in the bag. So definitely apply early, but yeah salary does kind of vary based on location and there definitely is London weighting.

Kate: Thank you. There are a few questions around that are from postgraduate students, from MBA Masters students - obviously those students will hand their dissertations in next September, so it's when should they apply? Should they be applying now to join graduate programs or to join companies next year, or do they have to wait another year? I don't know how would that work at KPMG, Henna, could students that graduate in September apply now?

Henna: Yes so we've got loads of applications already in from Masters students. You do need to be available to work full-time from the 1st of September, so when you do apply if you put your course end date, we might ask for more information - just to make sure that you will be available. But for KPMG specifically we are accepting Masters students at the moment, so if you're ready to work full time from the 1st of September 2023 then go ahead and apply to any of our Autumn graduate programs.

Kate: Yeah, and an important point around your visa as well - you need to check the terms of your visa, because it may be a stipulation that you have to have completed your course, which means handed in your dissertation. So you need to just be aware of that and check that. We're not visa specialists unfortunately, but what I can tell you is that there is guidance from the International Students Team, and that they're doing regular sessions - fortnightly sessions - on the graduate route visa. Those sessions are on Careers Connect if you want to have a look at when the next session will be. And also there is a session happening tomorrow evening, which is also being advertised on Careers Connect, which is going to be run by a company called Paragon Law and they are specialist immigration solicitors, and they'll be running a session all around the different types of visa options and what that means, and what that means for you if you're looking to work in the UK. So that session is called 'Working in the UK After Graduation' and that's tomorrow evening - it starts at seven o'clock and you can register for that on Careers Connect. Okay next question - I guess we've sort of touched on this briefly already but, 'Do companies usually prefer individuals with work experience, and without any professional work experience how can a student make their application stronger?' Henna, would you like to start with that one?

Henna: Yep so particularly for KPMG we do not look for any specific type of work experience, that's not anything that we assess on at the screening stage. Feel free to put that in if you've worked for KPMG as an intern, or worked for KPMG in another country make sure you put that in as well, but like I've already mentioned, we're not going to put you at an advantage if you've got a full year's placement compared to zero experience. We're looking at application as a whole so your academics, you know, what you're working towards, your predicted grades in your Masters or in your degree, and then we're looking at your performance in our assessments. So we're looking at all of them kind of things, and our strengths. So throughout the process, like I've mentioned already, we're looking to assess you on your strengths, so please don't worry if you're applying to KPMG about work experience at all.

Kate: Thank you. Kritika, some of the questions that are coming in are around students really worrying about where they can look for opportunities, you know, how they filter opportunities. This might be a good chance for you to perhaps talk about your experience as an international student applying for jobs, and also the service that you offer through Student Circus.

Kritika: Yeah yeah, I think one of the questions was also specifically asking about, 'Where I can find the employers who sponsor with us?', and I think without going too much into the technical details, so what happens is a lot of companies have sponsorship licenses and that all those companies go into this one register of sponsors. This list is released by the Home Office and I have been tracking this list for the last two years. In the last one year alone the number of companies that sponsor visas has grown from 40,000 to 60,000. Now that's great news because that means there are a lot more companies that are eager and happy to sponsor international students at the same time, however that means that you have a list of 60,000 employers to go through. The catch with that list is that there are 60,000 companies that can potentially sponsor your visa, but that does not mean they are currently hiring. It also does not mean they are sponsoring visas for all the roles that they advertise, or all the roles that they hire for, and third it also does not mean that they are actively looking for employees, right? So not all 60,000 are actually hiring. What we do at Student Circus is we do the penetration - so under normal circumstances you come across a job let's say on LinkedIn and you want to apply but your question would be how do I know if they sponsor it or not? And I think someone also asked if I should ask that in an interview. So one of the things that happens in a lot of applications is they ask for your sponsorship status, so then you have to mention irrespective of whether you are on the graduate route visa or on a student visa, you will have to tell them that eventually you would need the skilled worker visa to be able to continue working in the long term. Having said that, for two years you can have the option of the graduate route visa. So that makes things easier for a lot of employers who are a little hesitant, who don't want to commit to sponsoring you, they can work with you, trial, and then see if they like working with you and then sponsor. So that's one part of it. The other part is you have to be very transparent, so you can expect the same transparency from employers. A lot of employers may not even know about how the sponsorship works, at which point I'd say bring them back to your careers [service]. I think all the careers [services] are happy to sort of have that conversation with employers who do not know how to go about this. Student Circus is also sharing this one booklet we have built called the 'Employer Guide to Hiring International Students', so that can help employers understand what it's like to hire internationals and work with internationals. The point is that you have support here, so if you come across an employer who wants to hire you but does not know how to, you can bring them here. And at the same time for applications for roles that are already advertised, go about it very transparently - let them know at what point you would start needing a sponsorship. If it's just a contractual role for two years you can apply and you can work, but beyond that you will need sponsorship. If it's something that would eventually uh that you immediately want to convert into skilled worker visa, talk about that as well. And at Student Circus you will find that all the roles that we have listed they are confirmed to sponsor your visas if you end up getting shortlisted and selected. So you don't have to go through the entire pain. Oh we have a lot of we advertise a lot of roles from KPMG as well because again they are one of the biggest employers of international students in the UK. Similarly all the graduate schemes are listed and also smaller start-ups that are actively hiring international students, so you can find all of them here. As an international student I also know that you want to be more proactive about things, so if you're applying speculatively I would advise you to use LinkedIn as a networking tool - don't go to a hiring manager and tell them, 'Oh I'm an international student would you sponsor a visa?' That's not the right way to network; go to them, talk to them about your strengths, talk to them about your qualifications, strike up a conversation, strike up a rapport, and then, you know, a few months down the line you can have a conversation about whether or not there are vacancies, whether they are hiring, whether they would consider hiring an international student and so on.

Kate: Excellent. It's an excellent service that you that you offer - thank you for all that you do Kritika. Just Henna finally, to mention that obviously KPMG advertising roles now, so students should be aware of that. When are you likely to close your opportunities?

Henna: So we don't actually have specific deadlines for any of our roles, like I mentioned, we do recruit on a rolling basis, so we are recruiting at the moment - we have candidates who have actually made it to the final stage so just last week we had a virtual Launch Pad, which is that final stage, and candidates have been made offers. So like I've said already, my advice would be apply early, apply soon as, do your research; have a look online - look through all our service areas, you know, you might be confused - should I apply for consulting or should I apply for deal advisory? Look through the job description, you know, even if it's a case of writing down on a list what you're interested in and kind of a process of elimination, so you've read something about deals that's, you know, it's not as client facing as consulting, so actually I'm going to cross that off actually I might apply for consulting. And then we've got loads of different routes within that, so my advice would be do your research, apply early.

Kate: Yeah, and I guess that also applies to somebody from a particular discipline and they're not quite sure what they can apply for, it's a case of going through the job descriptions and looking at what the different requirements are and what suits everybody best.

Okay brilliant, well we are approaching one o'clock now, so I think we will have to leave it there. I just want to thank both of you so much for your time, and for giving so much valuable experience and your insights - thank you very much. And for those of you that are still on the call, we will send the recording out and please do get in touch with the career service if need anything, but thank you all - bye-bye.

Thank you so much for having us. 

Thank you.


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