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GradConnection launches the latest version of our website!

Posted by Nikki Barnard

A little fact about GradConnection is that every 18 months we release a new version of our site, however, the most recent - fondly know as GC5 - has been designed from scratch just in time for peak graduate recruitment season.

With peak season around the corner, timing could not have been better for the much anticipated launch of GC5. Our team of developers have spent the past two years building the site with the focus on a modern look and feel as well as easy, user-friendly navigation for both students and employers.

Built from the ground up, we have taken into account research and learnings from the past 10 years of industry experience as well as feedback from employers and students. Paying special attention to the design of the new site, GC5 has been constructed to create a unique experience for each user as well as cater to our global audience.

Some of the changes you will notice:

  • On the front page, we have a large banner which now rotates between employers - stats show that students spend an average of one minute on the homepage, and rotating the banners is eye-catching and effective and directing traffic to your employer profile.
  • On the display page there are larger space allocations to display employer logos - as we know that students, on average, look at around eight employers per search. The larger more prominent logos now allow for students to recognise your brand more clearly and are designed to push more students to your profile.
  • Your employer profile now has its own job board section which provides greater flexibility for you to organise your graduate recruitment the way you want.
  • With the ability to include more information on your profile means that it is easier to provide a more comprehensive and engaging story about your organisation and program to students.

Quick Search function

We have now added a quick search function so that once students discover your profile on GradConnection they can easily navigate back to your profile. This has streamlined the process of discovery to application so that students are more likely to use GradConnection to both find and apply to your program.

Employer showcase

The employer showcase has been split into two different areas:

  1. Employer profile content - information that sits on our site for 12 months so that students are able to discover your organisation and programs all year round!
  2. Job board - hosts all your open program and job opportunities and allows you to organise your recruitment the way you want. It will also ensure that the right students are notified about the most relevant opportunities. This means that you receive high quality and highly relevant applications.

We know that content is key for students, and now employers can upload as much content as they wish, including videos, images, links, and structure the pages the way they want. With the next update to GradConnection, we will be able to tell you how much time students are spending on each page of your profile. This will allow you to constantly optimise your profile using the analytics we provide.

Email alerts

Another important feature of GC5 are the email alerts. These alerts can be received weekly or daily by students and are an important part of keeping the students informed as to what opportunities are available.

After a very busy first half of the year, we are excited about this new season and how the new site will help you as employers find the graduates you need.

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Posted by Nikki Barnard


1st - 2nd August

Excelsior Hotel, Hong Kong

The aim of the summit

GradConnection is excited to be hosting the 2017 Returnee Summit from 1 - 2 August in Hong Kong. The aim of the summit is to connect top employers with renowned overseas universities for face-to-face networking opportunities. In order to select top graduates for your organisation, it is crucial to establish and build relationships with these leading universities.

Aware of the tremendous need for improved employability outcomes for international students studying in Australia, the UK and USA, GradConnection has partnered with various universities with the aim of providing employers with access to top returnee students. A mutually-beneficial relationship, GradConnection and partnered universities are here to bridge the gap between returnee students and employers.

At the 2017 GradConnection Returnee Summit, our goal is to help employers and universities share ideas with each other and in so doing eliminating information asymmetry.

The summit program

The summit will be held over two days where employers will have the opportunity to meet and network directly with universities on day one and on day two, attend a career fair and be introduced to those attending university’s students who have already returned home.

Below is an outline of the sessions provided:

DAY 1 - Networking event and panel session for employers and universities (6pm to late)
Location: Harbour View Room I & II, The Excelsior Hotel

There will be a networking event and panel session in the evening where your organisation will be able to:

  • Network with 30-40 reputable universities from Australia, the UK and USA.
  • Participate in a discussion panel between employers and universities. Employers will be given the platform to ask the universities questions and gain insight into their returnee students - their challenges, experiences and what more can be done.

*Drinks and light food will be provided during the event

DAY 2 - Returnee career fair (2pm - 5pm)
Location: Harbour View Rooms, The Excelsior Hotel

During the second day of the summit, a career fair will be run where employers will have the opportunity to exhibit to the attending university students who have returned home for their summer holiday. Here they will be able to meet face-to-face with returnees from Australia, the UK and USA and have the chance to showcase their employer brand as well as available job opportunities. Moreover, we will be conducting research on the attending returnee students at the fair in order to best match your company’s particular needs.  

There are only 20 career fair exhibition spaces available where you will be able to:

Career Fair Exhibition

  • Have an exhibition booth in our returnee career fair event.
  • Display your company’s logo on the GradConnection and university promotion websites.

Platinum Sponsorship

Up to three platinum sponsorship spots will be provided, which will enable you as employers to further promote your brand to universities and their students. With this sponsorship, your organisation will be able to:

  • Have an eye-catching, larger booth space in our returnee career fair event.
  • Top branding position for your organisation on the GradConnection and university promotion websites.
  • Named sponsorship to all participating universities.

Register to reserve your space:

Day 1: Networking and Panel Session - FREE OF CHARGE

Day 2: Career Fair Exhibition - USD $500

Day 3: Platinum Sponsorship - USD $1,500


Click here for more information and to register


Please register and reserve for the Summit, contact Tony Ye [email protected]

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Posted by Nikki Barnard


GradConnection has put together a returnee student survey in order to provide insight into the link between Chinese and Hong Kong-based employers and those graduates studying abroad.

Who are returnee students?

The large number of international students studying at western institutions is momentous, a number that continues to rise with each passing year. Commonly referred to as returnee students, many of these students move back to their home countries after having completed their tertiary studies, looking for employment.

Bridging the gap between returnee students and employers

As a result, GradConnection has partnered with leading tertiary institutions around the world with the ultimate goal of improved employability outcomes. Referred to as GradConnection Campus, this global job portal is conveniently located on the associated universities website and provides a centralised job source for top international employers and students around the world.

The GradConnection Returnee Report 2016

The aim of the Returnee Report is to provide insight into the hiring preferences of returnee students and to uncover the employability prospects for international students from universities based in Australia, the UK and the USA.

The GradConnection Returnee Report 2016 was run for the first time and was met with a very positive response. Based on research conducted by GradConnection between August and September 2016, the Returnee Report consisted of 93 China and Hong Kong-based employers participating across a number of industry sectors. The report was conducted via an online survey by way of multiple choice questions.

The key findings of the survey were as follows:

  • Returnee students from the USA and UK universities were highly targeted by employers above any other country.
  • 55% of employers have over 100 vacancies available.
  • 19% of employers don’t target universities because either they don’t have a contact at the university or know how to make contact.
  • Over 50% of employers don’t target universities because they don’t know the international student/returnee numbers at that university.
  • 86% of employers would consider targeting universities if they knew they had a large number of relevant international/returnee students.
  • 57% of employers’ reference successful past hiring as the most important attribute for targeting a university in the future.

Sharing the report findings

GradConnection was recently invited to share the 2016 Returnee Report findings with the heads of services at the 2016 AAGE Graduate Recruitment & Development Conference held in Melbourne, as well as at the AGCAS Heads of Service Conference 2017 in London Stansted. GradConnection is also due to attend the NACE Corrosion 2017 Conference & Expo in New Orleans in the month of March.

For more information and access to the full report, please contact Tony Ye.

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Posted by Nikki Barnard

When it comes to graduate programmes, a clear and well thought out graduate attraction strategy will be what sets you apart from the rest, as you position your company as the employer of choice

In order to select the top graduates, you need to attract them first. Here are a few things to bear in mind when putting together your attraction strategy:


Attracting the right candidate for your graduate recruitment program is usually determined by the old “what you put in is usually what you get out” cliché’. This certainly rings true for graduate recruitment, as the more effort you as an organisation put into your attraction strategy the greater the calibre of student you will be able to select from.

In order to do this, you need to define your student target group and understand what matters to them. Times have changed and the work environment is constantly evolving. Young graduates know what they want and what is important to them and as such, graduate programs need to be clear on a few things:

  • work-life balance
  • challenging and stimulating work
  • international opportunities
  • opportunities for advancements
  • learning and development prospects
  • clear goals and regular feedback
  • compensation and benefits

How I hear you say? Be a professional stalker. Think about the person you (ideally) would like to work for your organisation, then be specific about what you can offer and how that would matter to them. The other vital step is to identify your channels and providers - the key is quality over quantity.


Gearing your yourself up to showcase your organisation is the next fundamental cog in the proverbial graduate attraction wheel. In order to do this, you need to get online and make your company known.

Students in their exploratory stages may be aware of your company, but not necessarily of your employer brand or employee value position (EVP). Help them picture you as their employer, by showcasing your organisation and your job opportunities. It is helpful to bear in mind that strong employer brands spend less time and resources on hiring, and have better employee retention and increased productivity.

The bottom line, when showcasing your company, comes down to authenticity. Communicate your company, its culture, values and benefits. Don't forget your uniqueness is what will set you apart from the rest.


Like attracts like - if you are wanting to select the top graduates for your organisation then you need to be top employers and be ready for them. Stay current and ahead by:

  • Setting clear targets for your attraction campaigns - Determine the criteria for a successful campaign such as better calibre of students, shorter screening times, higher offer-to-acceptance ratio, and increased awareness of employer brand. Having clear goals up front will determine the success and return on investment (ROI) of your attraction campaign.
  • Consistently measuring your progress and adjusting it if you need to - Keep your eye on the analytics and readjust your content or channels if needed. In an ever-evolving market, where young graduates are at the forefront, you need to keep up and be willing to move along with it.
  • Remembering to celebrate and acknowledge your successes - Don’t be shy… go on brag! Be proud of your organisation and let others know how you feel. Remember that the most powerful form of marketing is word of mouth, so get people talking.

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Towngas Graduate Trainee Program

Posted by Tony Ye

Joining Towngas as a Graduate Trainee is a milestone for fresh graduates, you may have a lot of doubts about how’s the life there. Let’s hear from our 2016 intakes- Parry, Carol and Shawn about how Towngas helps them in reaching their dreams!

The Towngas Graduate Trainee Program is accepting applications from now until 9 December 2016. Apply now at: https://www.towngas.com/eng/corp/careers/training/gt.aspx

Parry Chan Pak Long

Parry Chan Pak Long

BEng (Industrial Engineering and Engineering Management),
The Hong Kong University of Science and Technology

Parry is currently under the HKIE Scheme “A” MIE Discipline, and belongs to the Hong Kong Core Business

Why did you choose to join Towngas?

Serving the community with my professionalism was my childhood dream, and Towngas is the perfect place to help me realize it. I have always wanted to join an innovative public utility company and become an engineer because all my work will make a positive impact on all Hong Kong people’s daily life. Apart from my dream, the Towngas Graduate Trainee Programme has a structured and clear career ladder, I can expect advancement within the corporate.

How’s your first 3 months as a Towngas GT?

If you ask about the best thing working in Towngas, it is definitely the support you have received from top management. They always spend time with us and give valuable feedbacks for our learning and growth, as well as not hesitate in showing their appreciation to our work done. The sense of achievement I have gained at Towngas is tremendously beyond my expectation!

Carol Huang Mei Yu

Carol Huang Mei Yu

BBA (China Business)
City University of Hong Kong

Carol is the Business Trainee of the Hong Kong Core Business.

Why did you choose to join Towngas?

My career goal is to work in a large corporate that I can be exposed to the different scope of businesses and roles. Towngas has a diverse business profile in Hong Kong and Mainland with coverage in gas production, transmission and distribution, sale of appliances and total kitchen solution, telecommunications, metering and new energy. I can foresee my future here as an all-rounded management. Other than helping me to achieve my career goal, the Graduate Trainee Programme is well-structured and it has started since 1982, many of our current executives are my GT seniors!

How’s your first 3 months as a Towngas GT?

I particularly appreciate the one-month management orientation training. Not only am I introduced to the corporate’s businesses, I have been provided with training to enhance my business networking skills through different workshops. As I am a business major without any engineering background, the orientation has also helped me to pick up a lot of the technical learning in a short period of time. I am really excited about the steep learning curve I have experienced in Towngas!


I am an outgoing person who enjoys participating in a lot of volunteering and events organized by the company, including challenging myself in the 5-day Outward Bound adventure and being the “junior master chef” at the Hong Kong Wine and Dine Festival 2016. As a Graduate Trainee, I often have the chances to take up responsibilities like being the emcee and the organizer of different events. Work is really dynamic and fun at Towngas!

Shawn Chan Sheung Yin

Shawn Chan Sheung Yin

MEng (Biochemical Engineering),
University College London

Shawn is currently under the HKIE Scheme “A” CML Discipline, and belongs to the New Energy Business.

Why did you choose to join Towngas?

Since a young age, I have always wanted to help improve the traditional energy business, which aligns with the vision and mission of Towngas. Towngas has a lot of exciting projects in different regions of China, including resource exploitation, liquefaction of coalbed methane, coal-based chemicals, and biomass energy. I wish to get more exposures at various chemical plants as to develop my engineering profession, and being the New Energy GT at Towngas is the best choice.

How’s your first 3 months as a Towngas GT?

From learning business etiquette to studying the gas production and supply chain, the first three months at the Hong Kong Core Business have provided me with comprehensive training that helps me to transit from an engineering graduate to the business world. Through attaching to different departments, I am more prepared for the upcoming 18 months attachment at the Mainland China.

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Posted by Nikki Barnard

In just five years, GradConnection has made their mark in the Hong Kong graduate recruitment market as we look ahead to continued growth in 2017

Since expanding our footprint to the shores of Hong Kong (HK) in 2011, GradConnection HK has gone from strength to strength. As the graduate recruitment market continues to grow so do the number of students, employers, and universities that have partnered with GradConnection HK on the quest to match the right student with the right employment opportunity.

The growth and expansion of GradConnection HK has been exponential as the need for graduate recruitment continues to rise. Evident in the success of the numerous events, conferences, and website traffic that has occurred over the past five years, GradConnection HK has become a household name in the Hong Kong graduate recruitment market.

The pageviews alone on the GradConnection HK site has been particularly encouraging. Based on our Google Analytics data, for the months of September to November 2016, the number of unique pageviews are up by 236.91% compared to the same period in 2013. From 117,265 unique pageviews in 2013 to 391,277 in 2016 (Peak Graduate Recruitment Season), just shows how much of the Hong Kong graduate recruitment market we have in fact reached over a somewhat short period of time.

As 2016 draws to a close, GradConnection HK is excited about what lies ahead. With our GradConnection Campus product having been launched this year we are expecting big things in 2017, as we aim to use the international student jobs portal to increase returnee students’ employability outcomes. If you would like to get in touch contact Tony Ye, GradConnection Director ([email protected]) or click here for more information.

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Posted by Nikki Barnard

GradConnection Campus is enabling universities to bridge the gap between returnee students studying around the world and top employers

GradConnection, in partnership with many of the top universities around the world, has launched GradConnection Campus. This online job vacancy platform has been developed specifically with returnee students in mind and is conveniently located on the associated universities websites.

Aware of the tremendous need for improved employability outcomes for international students studying in Australia, the USA and the UK, GradConnection is excited to be working alongside the various universities by providing access to top international job opportunities.

International and domestic students will be able to easily apply for jobs all around the world by conducting either a general job search or a more extensive one, using the filter option, based on the student's’ country of citizenship or working rights.

In the UK over half (58.0%) of all full-time postgraduate students were from outside the UK, according to HESA, and 46.3% were from outside the EU. The 2014/2015 figures show that among undergraduate students from outside the UK, the highest proportions came from Asia (42.7%).

Again similar results are true in the US, with Chinese students at the top of the list. According to Project Atlas, 304,040 students enrolled from 2014-2015 making up 31.2% of the total student population.

Interestingly, Australia has the largest percentage of international students studying onshore at 35%, followed by the UK with 22%, and 15% in the USA. Of the current 348 000 students in Australia, 40% say that they would like to stay and work once they have completed their studies. However, despite the fact that 17% of employers accept international student applications, only 1% are hired and are able to stay in the country. Unfortunately for the 40% of students who want to stay, it is not always possible and we, at GradConnection, need to support them on and offshore.

International organisations who hire students studying abroad could technically fill their entry-level positions from domestic sources, however, they have seen the value in students who have studied within Western institutions. Having gained a cross-cultural experience, as well as good English communication and language skills, these students are of great value to international employers. Without having to worry about visa or work-rights issues for their own citizens, these students are in high demand.

The University of Queensland Careers Service Manager, Daniel Capper, says that the platform highlights graduate opportunities in their home country, provides direct links to applications and identifies international employers who are actively recruiting. He adds that the resource addresses a gap that previously existed for international students who are away from their home country and may feel somewhat disconnected.

GradConnection Campus, alongside the partnered universities, will be giving international employers and students a centralised job source. Backed by our extensive GradConnection global employer network, this innovative platform is the link that has been missing between top international organisations and students studying onshore from around the world.

If you would like to get in touch contact Tony Ye, GradConnection Director, ([email protected]) or click here for more information.

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Posted by Nikki Barnard

Facebook has become a powerful tool in the Hong Kong and Singapore graduate recruitment market and our Facebook pages are no exception

According to Statista, the number of Hong Kong Facebook users is expected to reach 3.7 million in 2019, compared to the 3.4 million in 2016. There are only 7.3 million people in Hong Kong, which equates to around 48% of the current population using Facebook. Similar numbers are shown for Singapore with 2.9 million users on Facebook in 2016, which is around 52% of the 5.6 million population.

With numbers like that, it goes without saying that Facebook is a powerful social media tool able to reach a significant number of people, specifically for us, students and employers.

Knowing the influence that Facebook has, we launched our Hong Kong and Singapore Facebook pages three years ago and have since then had an extremely positive response. For both the pages, the information loaded has far reaching effects with an impressive 30,000+ followers on our Hong Kong page and 16,000+ following the GradConnection Singapore page.

With valuable posts available such as graduate and internship programs, recruitment talks and the like, the GradConnection Hong Kong and Singapore pages are there to equip and inform, particularly students, on the news and happenings from our partnered employers. With an average of 2,000-4,000 views per post on both the Hong Kong and Singapore pages, the content loaded hosts and impressive audience.

Always on the lookout for the most effective methods of communication, GradConnection’s Hong Kong and Singapore Facebook pages have grown to become a respected and significant cog in the graduate recruitment process, valued by both students and employers.

If you would like to get in touch contact Tony Ye, GradConnection Director, ([email protected]) or click here for more information.

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Hong Kong Association of Graduate Recruiters (HKAGR) 2012 Conference

Posted by Tony Ye

Hong Kong Association of Graduate Recruiters (HKAGR) 2012 Conference

Dan and I attended the 2nd Annual HKAGR conference, held in Hong Kong on the 24th of August 2012. We attended the first conference last year in April and it was one of the reasons that we ended up launching www.gradconnection.hk a site dedicated to the Hong Kong graduate recruitment market.


The conference was attended by around 50 delegates with a mix of employers from a wide range of industries predominantly finance and law related. This year there was a strong Aussie contingent with Ben Reeves from the AAGE, Emma from SA Water and Josh from DBL attending as well as a number of the attendees being Australian expats.


The presentations throughout the day were delivered by quite a wide range of presenters and covered a lot of ground in regards to the various phases of the graduate recruitment process and a lot of the market research specific to the Hong Kong market.

Presentation Sessions

GradConnection: This year we covered a wide range of topics, from Mobile website optimisation for careers sites, trends in mobile development and handsets, how to source students back to Asia from the US using Google Adwords and how the use of Internet Memes is becoming something recruiters are going to need to know now and even more in the future. If you’re interested in getting a copy of our presentation, send me an email at [email protected].

GraduAce – assessment centres in asia – Peter Finch the managing director of Graduace Graduace specialises in running assessment centres throughout Asia and works with major recruiters in Hong Kong and Mainland China. Peter shared some insights he has learned from building assessment matrices for his clients which include HKTDC, Nokia and PwC. One of the key learnings from his presentation was to create a competency mapping to ID core competencies to all of your assessment centre activities to ensure total coverage with validation of findings from one assessment to another.

HKAGR employer survey and panel – Presented by Neil Chowings from Work Group– this presentation provided some good insights into what employers in the HK region are thinking and will help forecast recruitment activity into the next year. It was interesting to note that recruiters in Hong Kong were recruiting across a very wide geographical area, specifically Hong Kong, China, Singapore, Japan, Australia, India, SEA, Korea, Taiwan and the UK. The Majority of employers were also open to hiring graduates form out of the region to begin their careers somewhere in Asia. One of the key trends to note is that the hiring numbers across APAC were staying consistent to last year.

Alexander Mann Solutions – how to recruit in China – Presented by Martin Cerullo Managing Director APAC at AMS Martin and his team at AMS are extremely active across Asia and were sharing knowledge on some of their learnings from the Chinese market specifically. Some of the more interesting points were that out of all of the Chinese students studying at overseas universities, 63% of them would like to relocate back to China after graduating making this a great talent pipeline to recruit if you are able to reach them to pull them back to your organisation in China. Another interesting dimension was the esteem that grads hold government employers, state owned enterprises and private enterprise in terms of attractiveness with the figures being a lot more skewed towards public service and SOE compared to other countries where government jobs can be unattractive to students.

All in all it was a very informative day and if you have a focus on Hong Kong let alone the Asia region you will be able to take a lot out of the day by attending, find out more at www.hkagr.com full members are able to download most of the conference presentation files as well so get in touch with the committee to join.


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