Zurich has reported a 90% surge in applications for its paid internships and graduate schemes, as students increasingly “bank on work experience” to enhance career prospects amid the current economic climate.
It comes as ONS data recently revealed “record” levels of unemployment, with young people hardest hit as recruitment opportunities continue to narrow.
Zurich is currently recruiting for its internship intake, though its graduate programme has just closed for applicants. Both programmes offered the same number of placements as the prior year.
Since launching its recruitment drive last month, applications for both programmes have doubled, according to the insurer. The insurer received 80% of the applications that were submitted over last year’s five-month campaign in the space of only five weeks.
Two-thirds of interns who completed placements this year have now secured places on Zurich’s graduate scheme, which is set to begin in September 2021. The graduate programme runs for three years, and is made up of six-month rotations across chosen business functions.
Meanwhile, the ten-week paid summer internship is designed to give candidates “hands-on” experience and a “strong” understanding of how the business works. The scheme is now open to applications.
Steve Collinson, head of HR at Zurich, said: “With the pandemic casting a shadow over the jobs market as a whole, competition for graduate jobs is even more intense. Students are vying for fewer opportunities, so they really need to ensure they practise and prepare for the screening stages.
“We use video interviewing as part of our process, so making sure you are comfortable, articulate, and true to yourself, is key. We’ve seen applications for internships and our graduate scheme soar as students look to jump the jobs queue and gain valuable experience to set them apart from the pack.”
He added: “Completing a successful internship will help students to build their skills, network and employability – which will be even more crucial in an economic downturn. It also enables candidates to explore career paths they may not have considered, such as data science and automation where many opportunities exist.
“Young people are the future of our business. We honoured all the offers we extended to graduates and interns in our 2020 intake and are running both schemes in 2021 as planned. We are committed to building a pipeline of talent and our focus on ‘early careers’ remains a top priority.”