Monster’s new survey says if you’re hiring new grads, you need to offer more than perks
In Monster’s New Grad Survey, we polled new college grads to get a sense of their job search priorities, how they search for jobs and how they’re feeling about their prospects.
If you’re a hiring manager or HR professional planning to tap into the young millennial (aka Gen Z) talent pool, their responses provide some valuable insights.
Here’s the highlight reel:
- When looking for a job, new grads are most likely to look at specific companies of interest (47%), followed by leveraging word of mouth channels (43%), and job boards (35%). And 3 in 10 said they plan to tap into Instagram.
- When asked about the most important factors during the job search process, candidates prioritize location (32%) and starting salary (32%). Lower on their list of priorities were company perks (14%), company mission/values (11%) and size of company (9%).
- Respondents overall are optimistic about finding their next full-time job, with more than half (59%) expecting it to take less than 1-2 months—and more than a quarter (28%) expecting it to take less than one month.
- Despite optimism from this group to find a full-time job, nearly two-thirds of respondents (65%) currently have a side gig, and 30% said they plan to keep it even after accepting something more permanent.
You may notice a couple of themes that stand out from the above results.
First, candidates are fully aware that they are graduating into a strong economy, and therefore they expect to find an opportunity fairly quickly.
Graduates’ job search game plan includes researching companies they’re interested in, asking around for referrals, job boards, and even Instagram. And finally, graduates care a lot about job location and salary. (Perhaps those pending student loan payments have something to do with that?)
That said, here’s a closer look at some of the top survey takeaways, and the impact they might have on your hiring plans.
Grads use a variety of job search tactics
When you consider that the most popular method of job search by new grads is to go straight to company websites, it’s more important than ever to make sure that job opportunities are consistent and on-brand.
Also, don’t forget to think about using social media to reach younger candidates, especially Instagram.
These young candidates are optimistic
Respondents overall felt confident that they could find a job in a month or two, and that’s likely true in the current job climate.
“It’s a good market to be graduating into,” says Andrea J. Koncz, research managerat the National Association of Colleges and Employers (NACE).
According to NACE research, employers plan to hire 10.7% more Class of 2019 graduates than they did from the Class of 2018. And that hiring increase is expected in 12 of the 13 major industries analyzed for the study.
For employers, that means you should expect some competition, and you’ll have to act quickly in order to entice grads who might be shopping around for the best offer.
What matters most to new grads
If you’re among those companies aiming to ramp up your new grad hiring, it’s good to know what this year’s candidates care most about.
With location andstarting salary topping the respondents’ list of most important job factors, you might want to emphasize why your company’s location is a great place to put down some roots, as well as provide applicants with a competitive salary offer to help cover the cost of living and those looming student loans.
Many also expect to keep a side gig going to help cover their expenses, so keep that in mind when discussing other aspects of the job like flextime.
And what (surprisingly) doesn’t matter to most of them
As for what young hires don’t care as much about? Ping pong tables, espresso bars, and other cool perks that would seemingly be up their alley – those were actually much lower on the list of priorities, according to the survey.
Another thing that went against conventional wisdom was that younger workers didn’t seem to put much weight on company values and mission (with only 11% listing it as a top factor for job consideration).
Perhaps it’s because new grads are mostly focused on getting their feet wet in that first job and earning some income, and aligning values might become more important down the road?
Or maybe it’s because 4 in 10 respondents said they only planned to stay at their first job out of school for 1-2 years anyway.
That means it’s on employers to not only attract grads to their open roles, but provide a clear career path that will keep them engaged so they stay on for a longer term.
One thing that could help is putting together a creative benefits package that appeals to new grads.
It should start with the basics: Health insurance is king, according to a survey by the American Institute of CPAs, followed by paid time off. But third in that survey was student loan forgiveness, indicating that debt is a huge consideration for many grads, with retirement planning a less pressing concern.
Getting your new grad hire
If you are able to get graduates to apply for your open positions, that’s a great start – but making them feel comfortable might be needed to seal the deal.
One way to do that is to give them the opportunity to meet with peers, which 45% of respondents said was the most helpful way to figure out if a company was the right fit for them, followed by meeting the manager (42%). In other words, take the time to introduce them around to the younger members of your staff and maybe let them shadow.
Of course, don’t forget that graduates expect to get started working ASAP, so do your best to keep the hiring process moving along – otherwise, you could lose them to a more nimble competitor.
All in all, graduates are eager and optimistic, and employers are hiring. “Based on the direction of the stock market and the overall economy and how healthy it is, it’s a good time to graduate and look for a job,” says Koncz. On the employer side, it’s up to you to stand out.