Three German employers have launched a company offering online student scholarships in a bid to solve their difficulties in attracting top graduate recruits.
Management consultant McKinsey, the publishing group Holtzbrinck and Deutsche Telekom launched the internet company e-fellows.net in August to help companies establish contact with promising students. Winners of the site's e-scholarships receive free internet access, use of more than 400 information databases, and information and invitations to apply for internships or seminars of interest to their future careers.
Companies on the lookout for top recruits pay e-fellows.net an annual membership fee in return for filtered information about scholars, and the chance to advertise internships, seminars or other recruitment activities on the site. As well as the three founding companies, e-fellows has four other partners - SAP, Compaq Europe, Siemens Information and Communication Networks and Siemens Information and Communication Mobile. It hopes to attract 25 leading companies as partners by 2004.
Juergen Kluge, head of McKinsey in Germany, recently told a conference it was becoming increasingly difficult to attract talented graduates. Two years ago the company would have paid a graduate recruit between €40,000 and €v50,000 (£25,000-31,000) a year. Now new employees attract salaries of €50,000 to €75,000.
So far, 30,000 people have registered on the site. Some 9,000 have applied for scholarships, of whom 3,600 have been successful.
The scholarships are valued at about €100 a month. They have been awarded to students in all subjects, including humanities, although a higher than average proportion is studying business, economics and law.