Generation Y Goes Directly to Source in Job Hunt

News Updates

Employers in the U.S. looking to recruit members of Generation Y for their workforces might want to consider their organizations’ social media strategies and incentives, according to survey findings from 8,088 university students from the Class of 2011.

For one, this generation—also known as Millennials and born from about 1980 through 2000— doesn’t mess around with job boards and employer postings.

More than 87 percent say they will target their employers of choice and submit job applications directly to them. That’s up from 49 percent in 2010, according to an online survey that I Love Rewards, an employee recognition company, and Experience Inc., which runs career center websites for U.S. colleges and universities, conducted in January and February 2011. 

Using on-campus career service also is gaining in popularity with this generation, with 72 percent in 2011 using this resource vs. 43 percent in 2010. Twitter (2 percent) and Facebook (7 percent) are not major resources for their job searches.

Additionally, newspaper ads and LinkedIn are used sparsely, with only 28 percent trying either resource. However, LinkedIn did see growth from the 5 percent of students who used it in 2010 to network and explore companies that interest them.

The respondents—mostly engineering, economics, psychology and political science students—were divided evenly across the gender line. Nearly two-thirds were optimistic about their job prospects. Slightly more than half expect to land a job within three months after graduation.

When searching online for a job, students most commonly use the following terms:

  • Position title—25 percent.
  • Entry-level jobs—23 percent.
  • Entry-level careers—19 percent.
  • Company name—18 percent.
  • Industry title—15 percent.

The findings point to the importance of employers building relationships with students while those potential hires are enrolled in school and for HR to “think like a marketer” in its recruiting efforts, according to the paper, Understanding the Class of 2011; How to Recruit, Retain and Inspire the Future Workforce, which offers an analysis of the data.

Other Findings

As with job seekers in other generations, salary is Generation Y’s top consideration when choosing where to work, with close to half expecting an annual starting salary in the $25,000 to $49,000 range.

Nearly two-thirds expect to stay with their employer two to five years, but one-fourth think that they will stay with their first employer for more than a decade. A company’s size is not a major consideration for them, but interesting and challenging work and the opportunity to advance are top considerations behind salary when choosing where to work.

The share of students ranking interesting and challenging work as important increased from 42 percent in 2010 to 56 percent in 2011. Career development, while still among the top three factors, fell from 55 percent to 38 percent in importance.

Not so important: vacation time (8 percent) and employee recognition programs (4 percent).

Regarding rewards, 84 percent ranked travel as the desired reward, followed by experiences (67 percent). Less compelling rewards: products (46 percent), gift cards (45 percent), charitable donations made in their name (39 percent) and years of service awards such as paperweights and watches from a catalog (17 percent).

Respondents were among Experience’s database of more than 150,000 students at more than 1,000 universities.