By Anthony Adeloye, Co-Founder, Gradlancer

Almost 7% of the world’s population now has a degree[i] and this figure rises to upwards of 60% when looking at the London region of the UK[ii]. Hiring graduates certainly offers an affordable way of securing fresh talent, but having an education is simply not enough for businesses when looking at recruitment these days.

While businesses are clearly keen to get the best graduate recruits as early as possible, the recruitment process is an expensive one. That’s why you should set your sights on students who have gone ‘above and beyond’ to differentiate themselves in the workplace. This could mean showing evidence that they have gained additional work experience, or worked in fields that are relevant to the job they are applying for.

In short, you want to know that the job you’re offering is the job they actually want - and this is where using student freelancing really comes into its own.

Benefits for businesses

Using student freelancers enables you to get the support you need for temporary, part time or project-to-project roles and placements. By utilising university students while they study, you can not only harness their enthusiasm and intellect for fresh new ideas, but can save a huge amount of money on the cost of outsourcing professional freelancers, agencies or consultants.

Positions are filled with affordable, skilled students who are studying in relevant areas – so you don’t need to worry about expensive permanent-hires and full time contracts. And while some freelancers will come and go, it gives you the opportunity to secure repeat business with an individual who impresses you. It also puts you in an ideal position to offer a that student a full time position once they graduate - ensuring that the next generation of talent stays within your company rather than getting a job elsewhere – potentially with your competitors.

Benefits for students

The trouble with some degrees is that they are really broad. Many students undertake a business degree, for example, but don’t really have a clear idea about which direction they want to take their career once they graduate. Freelancing allows those students to try out fields like PR, HR, or finance first, so they can pinpoint what it is they want to do without committing themselves to a particular field. Most degrees are also based around textbook theories, so being able to put those theories into practice reinforces a student’s knowledge while offering usable experience for when they graduate.

Freelancing also provides meaningful, flexible and paid work around university courses, in areas where students might not ordinarily be able to gain that experience. It means that they don’t have to commit to a part time jobs, fixed hours or undertaking an internship - instead giving them complete flexibility around their studies so they can work when they are able, rather than when they have to.

And with new services out there which put businesses and student freelancers together, it’s never been easier to get the support you need from the people most eager to learn and progress. It’s not just big businesses that attract the best graduate talent any more.