The jobs search costs for new graduates can be enormous, and not everyone who wants to work in a major city can afford to travel there for job interviews. In the UK, where socioeconomic diversity is becoming an ever-greater focal point of companies’ diversity and inclusion practices, Barclays’s is doing something to help candidates manage that cost. People Management’s Emily Burt has the details on their initiative, which is meant to improve economic diversity by helping graduates who can’t afford to stay in cities while interviewing:
The month-long ‘Barclays Graduate Rooms’ scheme will allow graduates to apply on a first-come, first-served basis for two nights of free accommodation in studio apartments close to their interview locations, regardless of whether their interview is with Barclays or another organisation.
“We hope that by offering free accommodation in some of the most popular cities for graduate jobs, we’ll go some way to helping those who would otherwise struggle,” said Sue Hayes, managing director of personal banking at Barclays.
Barclays here is acknowledging how much of a barrier to entry these costs can be to candidates from outside major urban areas and less affluent backgrounds:
According to a poll of 2,000 graduates carried out by the bank, four in 10 students have turned down interviews because of the cost of travel and accommodation, while 50 per cent have avoided applying for jobs in certain locations altogether because of their limited budgets
The truly impressive thing about this approach is that Barclays is not just doing this for candidates interviewing at their bank; the program is open to any recent graduate coming into town for an interview with any employer. In this regard, it is a coup for both Barclays’ employer brand and its consumer brand. The bank can certainly take credit for supporting these job searchers as part of a smart HR strategy, expanding its own access to talent outside the finance industry’s traditional pipelines. But it is also a brilliant marketing strategy, because once those job seekers actually land a job in the city, Barclays is that much more likely to be the bank where they decide to deposit their first paycheck.