Enabling the University of Nottingham to expand its global footprint

The University of Nottingham is a top 20 UK university and sits in the top 100 internationally. In the UK, it is ranked 8th for its research power, and has a gold standard in its Teaching Excellence Framework.
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With more than 50 schools, departments, institutions, and research centers, it serves over 45,000 students and employs over 7,500 staff. Catering to this significant scale is not easy, says Mark Williams, Recruitment and Talent Attraction Specialist at the University of Nottingham, whose team helped to fill over 1,900 roles per year. The university needed a partner that could cater to this scale and reach those hard-to-fill niches, especially during a time of political and societal uncertainty affecting hiring.

Before ResearchGate – the challenge

The University of Nottingham uses several methods to recruit talent. This includes advertising in journals (which is costly), on its website and academic-specific job boards, and via word of mouth – which remains a highly successful method. However, following the outcome of the referendum which saw the UK vote to leave the EU, the university began to see a dramatic reduction in EU candidates. In fact, the university saw a shocking 30% decline in EU researcher applications.

First contact with ResearchGate

The university needed to extend its scope geographically and reach qualified individuals inside and out of the EU, as its current recruitment methods could not provide this. When looking for a solution which could enable this, Mark Williams discovered ResearchGate, which had the user base to do just that. He had already heard of ResearchGate, as individual academics were using it to promote vacancies from their ResearchGate profiles. Mark made the move to tap into ResearchGate’s 20+ million validated members and 321 million monthly page impressions.
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Bioenergy And Brewing Science Building Home To Food Innovation Centre At The University Of Nottingham's Sutton Bonington Campus

International expansion

Since working with ResearchGate, the University of Nottingham has seen clear results. It has increased the number of international applicants to counter the EU drop, with a good conversion rate to full faculty members. In six months, it posted 130 jobs, with 450-500 applicants for senior, niche roles. Mark has furthermore been delighted with the brand benefits. Because the University of Nottingham now has more visibility within the ResearchGate network, over time an increasing number of scientific researchers have been clicking on their jobs.

Mark admits that with the gloomy post-Brexit outlook, he initially went into partnership with ResearchGate with low expectations — as no other recruitment tactic had made an impact. However, he was delighted with the results and now sees it as the go-to STEM recruitment tool. In fact, as Nottingham aims to grow its international footprint, he is looking to extend the relationship further by exploring further employer branding opportunities.

Mark concludes: “ResearchGate has given us access to a pool of talent we’d otherwise not have been able to reach. Nottingham is an ambitious university, with a rich heritage and an increasingly global outlook, so the fact we can now reach the best STEM talent with ResearchGate is fantastic – both in terms of hiring the best talent but also making people aware of the exciting opportunities we have to offer from an employer branding perspective.”
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Key stats

Applications affected by Brexit

Before Brexit, percentage of applications from the EU were high – 25%

After Brexit, percentage of applications from the EU dropped severely to 16%

Now, with ResearchGate, there is a spike in applications for the first time since the referendum

With ResearchGate, jobs have 21% performance increase

160 roles re-advertised (pre-ResearchGate)

126 roles re-advertised (with ResearchGate, saving time and money)

“We hire a huge amount of people annually, so it’s only right that we partner with someone who can help us achieve our goals. Since we started working together, we’re reposting less and application numbers have increased, leading to better time-to-hire results. The benefits are clear – for any institution looking to reach a more global STEM talent pool – ResearchGate is THE go-to.” Mark Williams, Recruitment Specialist – Talent Attraction, the University of Nottingham
Your company can also access this unique candidate pool, filled with scientific experts. Contact ResearchGate to receive a free consultation about your current and future hiring needs, and find out how we can help you optimize your STEM recruitment.