umb skin1 Web Content Viewer

umb skin2 Actions

Young adults want balance and stability in the workforce

Date posted:  8/30/14 07:30:00 AM Millennials are looking for balance in their life and work.

The millennial workforce seems to be creating some contradictions. While millennials hold a reputation for being less devoted to companies than previous generations, that might not actually be the case, according to Melissa Murray Bailey, president of Universum Americas.

Universum, an employer brand research firm, recently revealed its 2014 Ideal Employer rankings in The Wall Street Journal, highlighting the ideal employers for millennials. Based on a survey of more than 46,000 undergraduates, the rankings showed what companies are attracting the current crop of students, and more significantly, why.

"The Millennial generation is perceived as one that isn't loyal to their employers, staying at their jobs for only 1-2 years," Bailey said. "However, the students taking our survey tell us differently. What we often see is a mismatch between students' expectations and the actual experience as the reason they end up leaving an organization relatively quickly. It is imperative for employers to develop and communicate a strong and true employment value proposition."

Student respondents indicated they wanted to stay at their first jobs longer than in past years. The 2014 survey showed 47 to 64 percent of students expected to stay five years or longer at their first job. In the three years prior, the number of students expecting to stay at least five years at their first job has climbed by at least six percent across most career paths and majors.

The importance of job security falls slightly
Universum reported that the top career goals for students are starting to return to pre-recession levels. Similar to recent years, the top career goal for students is to balance their workload with their lifestyle, followed by job security and being dedicated to the cause.

Job security quickly climbed the list after the financial crisis and burst of the housing bubble several years later, according to the report. It remained strong in the following years but finally dipped this year. The report indicated the importance of job security and being dedicated to a cause returned to pre-recessions levels likely because of greater optimism about the stability of the economy.

"As the competition for top talent grows increasingly fierce, it's more important than ever for employers to be proactive about building brands to attract the right people," Bailey said. "Through the survey data, employers can gain insights about the preferences of their target group and leverage that information to build a message that resonates. These rankings celebrate the employers that have made deliberate investments in their employer brand."

Google and Disney are mainstays
Among respondents, Google and Walt Disney were among the most popular places students wanted to work.

One in five of the nearly 16,000 business students surveyed put Google in their top five, with Walt Disney not far behind on about 14 percent of business students' wish lists.

Kevin Troy, head of research and insights for Universum's Americas, said an esteemed consumer brand, a positive employer image and the size of its recruiting effort has given those companies a step up.

Considering the options
The Universum report stated the average student is now considering working for more employers than any time in the past five years, which could be fueled by optimism about their perspective job prospects. The report also indicated this might be sparked by more employers on campus than ever before, handing out information to students curious about a company.

Universum stated this was good news for smaller, lesser known companies because they now have a higher probability of being considered by students. Though it also means competition between employers will be incredibly competitive.

"One of the biggest challenges employers face right now is differentiating themselves from their competition," Bailey said. "Because students are so open-minded about their employers, it's more important than ever for employers to stand apart from the crowd."