Leading recruiters from across the UK are set to gather next week to discuss the role of leadership skills in the graduate recruitment process.

Ten recruitment managers from companies with major graduate programmes – including IBM and Proctor & Gamble – will be meeting with 150 student leaders of University College London (UCL) to debate the issue as part of the Sanctuary Search Leadership Challenge.

It aims to give both companies and graduates the chance to learn about the issues concerning what it viewed to be the most important ‘soft skill’ for graduates to demonstrate in order to successfully negotiate the gruelling recruitment process.

Many of the companies attending offer specific graduate leadership schemes, while all of them consider good managerial qualities crucial for any graduate candidate, whatever sector they are seeking employment in.

RBS’s Campus Consultant, Mohit Malik, explained, “Leadership can provide a foundation for ideas, creativity and excellence, showing others that anything is possible.”

Sanctuary Search’s director, Tom Freeman, added that the trait of good leadership was coming to define the ultra-competitive graduate marketplace, being viewed as the primary skill that sets students apart from their peers.

“As employers, overcome by the volume of applications, can afford to be more discerning, it is incumbent upon students to have a stand-out quality,” he said. “Leadership is an ability that is central at graduate level as it determines the leaders of industry in the future.”

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