Best HR/L&D supplier

Blackbridge with Babcock Training


When defence supplier Babcock set the challenge of attracting 600 graduates, retaining talent and reducing its cost-for-hire, the recruitment experts at Blackbridge didn’t baulk and executed an award-winning collaborative campaign that delivered on every promise. 

Like many other companies in the engineering sector, Babcock’s ageing workforce was in desperate need of more diversity and a fresh injection of talent, so it looked to its graduate strategy to deliver results. 

When Babcock put its campaign out to tender in 2017, Blackbridge answered with a solution that moved away from the ‘masculine feel’ of previous campaigns, creating a recruitment drive that would appeal to the broadest mix of students. 

It achieved this by immersing itself in Babcock’s business – starting with meeting the teams and talking to the current pool of graduates – in an approach that Blackbridge described as trying to fully understand the needs of the company. 

Having won the pitch, the two businesses set out a three-year strategy to ensure Babcock would become a destination employer across its engineering, science and business management programmes. 

The collaborative approach saw the ‘What Makes You’ graduate recruitment campaign surpass all expectations, leading it to win three industry awards and 11 nominations and raising Babcock’s employer brand profile. 

Diversity among graduate employees has improved as women accounted for 30 per cent of hires, up from 22 per cent. The business has also engaged candidates from a wider university pool, receiving applications from students across 126 universities. 

Graduate retention has improved as 83 per cent are still in the company after three years, surpassing the ISE benchmark of 74 per cent, while 62 per cent say they intend to remain at Babcock for more than five years. 

Since introducing the graduate recruitment campaign, Babcock’s cost-per-hire has reduced from £2,135 in 2016-17 to just £1,250. 

This success has seen the two companies invited to present together at industry events, in recognition of the campaign’s superb record of graduate attraction. 

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