A group of students in a workshop

Measuring ROI in Early Careers

September’s Coffee with Uptree, our bi-monthly employer webinar, was based around how to measure ROI within Early Careers. We had the great pleasure of running the session alongside Sharon Blyfield OBE, Head of Early Careers at Coca-Cola Europacific Partners.

We’ve taken the time to expand on three areas that we felt were key to the discussion; measuring data, timelines and support, with some incredible top tips from Sharon.

Measuring data

With regards to data, a big thing from an Early Careers perspective is, do you capture the destination? How many different roles have they undertaken within your organisation? Maybe had you not invested in Early Careers, you might have promoted roles in the traditional way. Perhaps you would have used an agency that cost five to six thousand pounds and you may have had a number of turnovers with that.

Group of students

Early Careers metrics aren’t one-size-fits-all

Setting your metrics in Early Careers is not a one-size-fits-all job. Consider where your organisation is at now. Smaller companies may want to look more closely at their young people’s experiences and development whereas larger companies might consider the bigger picture such as geographical engagement, D&I or recruitment practices. Ultimately an Early Careers strategy should build up to measuring the long term outcomes.

Starting your Early Careers outreach

Are you engaging many young people in your current recruitment strategy? If not, you have a great opportunity to evaluate your current recruitment outreach strategy, measuring against your current metrics.

As a starting point, companies can set up work experience events and look at engagement, attendance as well as those that go on to apply for positions. Those initial conversions are a great metric to start with as you set the foundations for an Early Careers outreach plan.

Look at measuring applicant renege (when someone accepts a job which they subsequently decline) in your application processes. This will give you a view of how engaging the onboarding experience is for new starts. These stats can guide the kinds of language and positioning of your role advertisements.

Retention rates

Once you have begun to hire young people, whether it be through apprenticeships, intern programs or grad schemes, a method to measure the success of these programs is to look at retention. Are your young starters staying and remaining in their role? This retention rate can be used as an indicator to continually improve the experience of young starters.

Referring to Sharon’s quote, measure the costs against your traditional recruitment costs, as you may be receiving a larger pool of diverse talent for a smaller use of budget.


A lot of organisations understand that when you take on a young person, they take time to nurture and to develop. When it comes to Early Careers, it’s not quick. Many will want to see that return on investment tomorrow, however you are unlikely to see it until 4-6 years down the line.”

Developing students for higher positions

It is important to look at the longer term metrics for your Early Careers strategy. Where are your young people progressing in the business? They may be filling out roles that would otherwise be hard to fill traditionally or moving to sites that are geographically difficult to attract talent to.

These metrics may also crossover with D&I goals as you hire diverse talent and build them up into higher positions over time. Capturing the destination of your new starts is a longer term task that can take years to see results.

The benefit of these metrics can be related to whether you have saved investment from marketing hard-to-fill roles. You may have grown an area of the business where Early Careers starters have developed into, and you may be meeting your ESG goals through the diversity of your candidates.

Following candidate journeys

Not all ROI can be measured through numbers and hard statistics. In Early Careers it is important to follow the journey of your new hires through the company to see its effectiveness in getting the most out of your hires.

By comparing their journey against traditional hires, companies can get insight into how effective the experiences of Early Career hires have been. If they are progressing at a slower rate, you can gauge whether they are being nurtured well enough.

Companies can also look at whether hires are moving to different areas of the business. Perhaps some Early Careers hires are switching career routes more frequently. This will give an indication of which areas of the business need more attraction.

Timeline for measuring ROI


At Coca-Cola Europacific Partners, we've had to look externally to ensure that we were doing the right things. I’m a great believer in not marking your own homework, get someone to mark it for you because they will identify some of those gaps...Absolutely use a support network. Reach out for help, reach out for support because there will always be somebody in a similar situation to yourself. You might realise that you are further along in your journey than you thought.”

Using a Provider

By using a Provider, companies can access a larger team with increased resources at a lower cost when compared to hiring a team internally. Providers, like Uptree, are solely dedicated to the progression of Early Careers opportunities. With this as a sole focus, a provider can support your Early Careers strategy through a progressive lens and bring innovative ideas through close relationships with students and being continuously in touch with Early Careers related research.

Employers can also make use of a Provider’s student network and close relationships with schools to boost their outreach beyond their current capabilities. Receiving direct feedback as a provider provides an opportunity to better improve touchpoints for employers across work experience events, application processes and student engagement strategies (are your communications engaging to young people?). This, along with the Providers’ expertise can play a huge part in developing an effective Early Careers strategy.

Employer networks

Support can also be found through employer networks which offer opportunity to knowledge share and measure the effectiveness of your current strategy against other employers who are on the same journey. You can engage with employers through events hosted by Early Careers Providers like Uptree or attending conferences at institutions such as The Institute for Student Employers (ISE). These are great ways to network, share successes, roadblocks and new ideas to develop in the Early Careers space.

Uptree employer networking

In summary, it is important to acknowledge that the idea of having an Early Careers strategy is fairly new. There is no one way to measure success and ROI. It is important for companies to look at the current structure of their organisation in order to record metrics effectively, feeling the impact of Early Careers isn’t going to happen overnight.

This long term approach relates to how companies are monitoring their new starters’ journeys. By looking at where they are going within an organisation, companies can evaluate the effectiveness of their strategy against traditional recruitment practices.

Through using a Provider and engaging in employer networks, companies can ‘compare homework’ and develop new strategies for measuring success in Early Careers. These conversations and networking opportunities are important to continuously improve approaches to Early Careers whilst also getting knowledge on what students and young people are looking for in their careers.

Discover ways to keep your new hires warm post-offer or book a call with our Product Consultants to discuss how Uptree could support your student outreach strategy.

By Uptree
Published on: Mon 31 Oct 2022

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