Graduate recruitment is an activity that is practiced by many organisations and HR professionals in South Africa (SAGRA, 2012), yet there is still much to learn about the challenge of what graduates perceive to be the most important factors in attracting and retaining them. In addition, it is generally known that the information and communications technology (ICT) industry is at “war for talent” (McKinsey&Company, 2007) among IT graduates due to the scarcity of the IT skills set (ITWEB, 2008). IT News Africa (2012) reports that South Africa has a growing shortage of skilled workers within the information and communication technology (ICT) field. This can particularly be indicated by the numbers released by South Africa’s Department of Home Affairs, which for instance, has issued a detailed list of 7,600 open ICT technical job vacancies (IT News Africa, 2012). The objectives of the study were: (1) to determine what firstly attracts IT graduates to ICT companies, and (2) to determine what retains these IT graduates. The purpose of this was to assist HR managers to overcome the challenge of attraction and retention within the ICT industry. Data for this study was collected by means of an online survey, namely the IT Graduate Recruitment Survey, on a purposive sample (N = 172) of IT graduates in the South African IT sector. Descriptive frequency, median, ranking and chi-square statistics revealed significant insight into the IT graduate’s perspective of attraction and retention factors. The main findings indicate that the top attraction factors for IT graduates include interest in the prospective organisation’s specific products, the services it provides and the employer’s brand in the industry; the overall reputation of the employer; career opportunities; security of employment; and to be able to make use of the IT qualification for which they studied. The two most influential advertising techniques to attract IT graduates are people who already work in the industry, and employer websites. The top retention factors include the availability of opportunities for further study, being supported by the employer and future career opportunities. The findings contribute valuable insight and knowledge to the field of Human Resource Management that can be applied in the recruitment, selection and talent management processes in relation to IT graduates in the ICT industry. Future research could compare different ethnic, gender and qualification groups – i.e. an IT degree candidate versus a diploma candidate – and their expectations when entering the workplace. The impact of on-boarding and induction can also be investigated in terms of the impact these have on retention. It is also recommended that researchers conduct in-depth qualitative interviews together with the current questionnaire to evaluate IT students’ and graduates’ perceptions of the viable attraction and retention techniques more critically.
Dissertation (MCom)--University of Pretoria, 2013.