Page 2: The problem
Marks & Spencer recruits around 250 university graduates in the UK each year. Marks & Spencer is well known and has a good relationship with graduate career advisors. Marks & Spencer also has a presence on campuses and a well-deserved reputation for training. A long-term presence in this labour market helps Marks & Spencer to find the highcalibre graduates required for the opportunities it has to offer.
Given the aim of accelerated growth in Europe, Marks & Spencer recently set out to recruit a total of 100 graduates from the five European countries in which it operates. It soon became apparent that each of these countries had different higher education systems and widely different recruitment practices. For example, careers advisory services in Spain and the U.K are not comparable and very few Spanish graduates have any work experience. In Germany, graduates leave university at the age of 27!
At Marks & Spencer, senior managers realised that there was no 'European' way of doing things. Five different education systems, for example, meant that adaptation was inevitable in order to recognise cultural diversity and ensure equality of opportunity. So while Marks & Spencer wanted a coherent pan-European approach, slightly different strategies were implemented for each of the five countries.