If you think the past two years at work have been tough as an experienced employee, spare a thought for those who’ve recently graduated! They have joined a radically different workplace, in an uncertain global economy, with mass resignations in the news, virtual colleagues on screens, and no guarantees of job security in their career ahead.
What’s different for graduates, post-pandemic?
Remote studying has left many graduates fending for themselves, without the formative networks previous generations have cultivated through hands-on career guidance, physical internships, and workplace experience. Not having easy access to employers has left them low on confidence and re-evaluating what they want from their careers. The disconnect between what graduates think employers want and what skills employers are looking for is wider than ever. Insecurity has promoted “industry experience” to the top of the graduates’ assumptions for the first time, whereas employers, post-pandemic, want candidates with resilience and problem-solving skills.
A recent survey across APAC showed almost half of current university students and grads were reassessing their career paths in the new world of work. Even the traditionally popular sectors have changed for grads – in Singapore, for example, the resilience and rise of e-commerce during the pandemic has seen that option grow in appeal to the tech-savvy generation leaving university. But it’s not just about the sector or the role for graduates today – they have other things on their minds that employers should take note of.
What else do graduates want?
Salaries and titles don’t feature high up the wish list for graduates today. Instead, they want to work for employers that demonstrate a variety of options and qualities, including:
A McKinsey report stated that for 70% of people, their sense of purpose is defined by their work. Purpose is hugely important to university graduates, and to Gen Z in general, who want to work for employers that share their values. The pandemic caused thousands of people to re-evaluate their purpose in life, which has played a role in the “Great Resignation”, so the employee experience overall and the employee value proposition should be a huge consideration for employers, but particularly when thinking about the next generation of workers.
Hybrid and flexible working options
While remote working and the worldwide adoption of working from home was a welcome novelty to many employees bored of commuting, most of whom will never go back to an office full time, it’s less appealing to those starting out in their careers. They not only want the social interaction of a physical workplace after two years of studying predominantly from home, but they need to observe role models and interact face-to-face to learn and develop. They want flexibility and the option to work remotely, of course, but more for their own work/life balance than to avoid the office.
Over 90% of students consider an employer’s commitment to diversity and inclusion before applying for a role, so it’s not something that they should have to dig deep to find. A recent survey in Australia among graduates deemed that a solid D&I policy was a crucial factor in their choice of employer. They want to see Equal Opportunity, Indigenous, and Neurodiversity programs not only showcased, but part of the fabric and culture of any decent employer.
Upskilling and development
Perhaps more so than previous generations, today’s graduates have a plan when it comes to their career. Many know exactly the type of employer they want and where they want to go – and they will expect help to get them there. That means mentorships and training as well as the latest tech to enable them to achieve their career ambitions. They’re not looking for perks like gym memberships but place more emphasis on learning new skills that will open doors for them.
Why go into recruitment?
An increasing number of graduates are choosing recruitment because of the integral role it plays across all industries, the impact it has in people’s lives, and the visible potential career path. Unlike many sectors where it might take years to reach a senior level or a good salary, in recruitment there are excellent financial incentives for performance right from the start, and a clear route to senior roles for consistent top performers. Working in recruitment cultivates a wide range of skills as well as exposure to other businesses and sectors. Dealing with clients and candidates, networking, negotiating, interviewing and problem-solving is all part of daily life and improves soft skills such as communication, empathy, teamwork, and relationship building. Add cutting edge tech and possible international relocation into the mix, and recruitment becomes an attractive option for graduates.
Graduates choosing Hydrogen and Argyll Scott
Hydrogen Group gives joining graduates the platform and support to achieve their career goals and ambitions. Our uncapped commission scheme means our people are genuinely in control of what they earn and there is potential for swift career development, if that’s what you’re looking for. Nothing is set in stone, it’s up to each person – you can go from ‘Associate’ to ‘Recruitment Consultant’ in your own time, whether that’s 3 months or 12 months. One of our most attractive initiatives is our unique flexible offering where employees own their own time, meaning that they can work whenever and wherever suits them best.
If graduates needed any further proof or inspiration that Hydrogen Group is the place to forge a career in recruitment, consider this mini case study. Hayley Still started with us as a graduate in 2008 in London and worked hard to move up through the organisation. A decade or so later, she’s now the CEO!