Innovative social networking recruitment delivers benefits to employers and job seekers
The Manx Graduates portal, www.manxgraduates.im was developed in 2008 with support from the Isle of Man Government's Department of Trade and Industry and in consultation with the Department of Education (DoE).
To improve access to higher education, the Isle of Man Government supports students by paying tuition fees to higher educational institutions located off the Island. In addition, the Government provides means-tested maintenance grants to many students, helping to underwrite the cost of living away from home to study.
Each year, approximately 1,100 undergraduate and 120 post-graduate students receive this support to further their studies. The annual budget for further and higher education courses is more than £11.5 million, (£1.5 million in maintenance grants and £10 million in tuition fees). Despite this, the majority of Manx students choose to stay abroad after graduation, rather than returning home to the Island to work and live.
The Isle of Man Government needed a way to see increased return on this significant investment in the Island's students. As non-Manx born/educated graduates require work permits to obtain employment on the Isle of Man - a considerable administrative burden on Manx employers, these students should make up a significant proportion of the Island's future workforce . Consultation with the business community and discussions with industry groups have highlighted the need to attract more Manx graduates back to the Isle of Man, especially into sectors such as ICT, financial services and engineering/manufacturing.
Manx Graduates (www.manxgraduates.im) is a portal to help the Isle of Man retain and attract talented people; helping them to achieve their potential and contributing to the Island's economic diversity and prosperity in the process. The portal uses interactive social networking features to help graduates and job seekers to connect with employers. Individuals provide details about their skills, experience and the type of job they are seeking. Employers provide company information and details of general opportunities and specific vacancies. The messaging function allows instant interaction between job seeker and potential employer.
Social networks are still cutting-edge in the context of public services, and they can be a cost-effective way to build community and strengthen relationships with stakeholders. Creating a business sector-focused social network is a solution that precisely meets the challenge for the Isle of Man. In fact, to our knowledge, the Isle of Man is the only nation-state to have introduced such a platform to help solve a major economic challenge.
That the Isle of Man was able to bring such innovation to market so quickly and cost effectively is down to PDMS and FoundationsTM,the company's own .Net -based software development framework.
With Foundations, we delivered a bespoke, standards-based solution that fully meets Manx Graduates' specific needs. Within the framework, 60 per cent of code is standardised so PDMS was able to drastically reduce development time for Manx Graduates compared to having to create it from scratch. Foundations is a fourth-generation MVC framework that's been developed by PDMS over more than a decade and has been tested in many high performance environments over the years. The project demonstrates the effective use of technology to solve a major economic challenge to the Isle of Man and its on-going success. The portal includes web 2.0 based functionality, making the site much more than a traditional jobs board. Social interaction and relationship building lie at the heart of the Manx Graduates project.
The site borrows some of the interactive social features made popular by social networks like Facebook. It's free for Isle of Man-based employers, recruiters and graduates. Individuals provide details about their skills, experience and the type of job they are seeking. Employers and recruitment companies provide company information and details of general opportunities and specific vacancies.
- Profile based - Employers and graduates have their own profile pages which can be managed and updated
- Internal Messaging
- CV formatting, printable versions
- Bookmarking - Bookmark vacancies, graduate profiles, articles, employers of interest
- Notifications - Internal notifications (optional external e-mail notifications) of relevant vacancies, articles, etc.
- Privacy settings - Users enjoy extremely flexible privacy settings. A range of 'visiblity' options
- Article publisher - Users can write and publish articles of interest to the community.
Benefits - Measurable Success:
The project has been extremely well received and supported by all of its stakeholders. Local businesses have signed up to use the portal and are actively registering vacancies. The Island's schools and careers service are also supportive. Presently over 110 employers and 1500 individuals have joined the Manx Graduates community, the first 24 months have seen consistent growth, with no signs of drop off.
Manx Graduates clearly demonstrates that the use of technology is a vital enabler for the Isle of Man government. It provides a completely new, but sorely needed, service to the community: an opportunity for employers and candidates to network and connect online. It raises awareness of the excellent career opportunities on the Island among the group of people most likely to consider locating here and increases the opportunity for increase the DoE's return on investment.
Future site developments include the introduction of:
- RSS technology to allow users to import content to their profiles,
- creation of 'badges' to enable profiles on Manx Graduates to be connected to other online profiles such as Facebook, MySpace, LinkedIn and Twitter
- introduction of an integrated events calendar
- introduction of discussion boards
- introduction of social bookmarking tools
- Other 'social' features as new trends emerge.
The project has received considerable favourable press coverage and other jurisdictions, with similar market and skills issues to the Isle of Man, have also expressed an interest in adopting the portal and rebranding it.
The Manx Graduates portal was finalist in both the Isle of Man Newspaper Awards for Excellence in 2009, and the Archant London National Graduate Recruitment Awards (in 2 categories)
- Best Graduate Recruitment Website/Micro site
- Most Innovative Way of Attracting Graduates