The colligate graduating class of 2022 is entering a job market where positions are copious. In the U.S., employment opportunities are rapidly approaching an all-time high, and employers are scrambling to attract and retain these recent college graduates from the Class of 2022, according to recently published stats from the National Association of Colleges and Employers.
This fresh batch of grads is in high demand and has the luxury of being most selective in choosing a “worthy” employer. As a result of the global pandemic, these job seekers have different workplace requirements and expectations than previous generations of graduates.
Candidates seeking entry-level positions have had an atypical college and job search experience due to the pandemic. They are used to working in a completely different landscape than their predecessors and are unwilling to compromise on this new formula that’s so conducive to a healthy work-life balance.
Having received the majority of their education remotely, the virtual work environment is the new normal and hiring teams have to alter their antiquated processes, be receptive to this change, and be willing to integrate policies that provide the work-life balance these grads have become accustomed to if they want to successfully hire and retain this generation of talent. Because this class has faced these challenges head-on and overcome numerous obstacles as it relates to the past two years from a global pandemic and an uncertain economy, this new generation of talent is looking for stability. The graduates of 2022 and Gen Z collectively require more from employers than their predecessors.
This new class are bold risk takers and not willing to compromise on the vision they have for their lives. Generation Zers don’t live to work; they work to LIVE. They have a real zeal for their lives outside of work. These grads tackle job interviews head-on with an assertiveness about who they are and what they require with the expectation to address policies like mental health, inclusion, flexibility, transparency, and diversity. Gen Z wants to know everything, they want all of the particulars, and they respect allowing them to have that peek behind the veil. Previous generations of grads were content just landing a job that allowed them to start tackling their student loan debt, but these grads want to know what their day-to-day responsibilities will entail and what the fundamental tasks they will be working on will look like. These new working professionals are interested in company culture, they want to know about establishing their career path, they want to know about health and wellness benefits and employee resources, and They are concerned with things like if the company donates to local charities that are impacting their communities.
Flexibility is crucial to engaging these graduates. However, most companies are still struggling with altering their outdated policies here. Baby Boomers and Generation Xers at the helms of businesses mostly still have unrealistic expectations on issues such as telework, limiting their attractiveness to recent college grads seeking to work on their terms.
This new generation does not value in-person connections; this is especially true for recent graduates. Flexibility for them goes beyond which days they are required to come into the office. This generation knows that working remotely has been working for over two years. They are not concerned with in-person interactions with colleagues and engaging in office politics. Working remotely has enriched their lives significantly, and they are refusing to budge on that.
Older generations struggle with this new normal because the concept is just too foreign, even though the pandemic has proven beyond a doubt that telework WORKS. They have a hard time with things like ensuring accountability, networking practices, and isolation.
Generation Z is prioritizing their personal passions over a job. Gone are the days of your job defining who you are; it’s about how you show up in other aspects of your life that are these graduates’ priority. This generation is seeking employers who support healthy mental health practices and holistic well-being. They are passionate and care immensely about the world around them. Issues such as climate change, sustainability, equal pay, and diversity play a significant role in whether they want to be a part of an organization.
While this generation has a well-earned reputation for job hopping, the vast majority of Gen Zers state that they care about how long they work for an employer and would prefer to remain with an employer long-term. However, companies’ refusal to adjust their ways of thinking, policies, practices, and values contribute to hires seeking a better fit elsewhere.
Companies that get it are wooing Gen Z by offering enticing incentives aimed at luring the grads and retaining them by remaining engaged, open-minded, understanding, and flexible.
Although the global pandemic has affected everyone searching for employment, stability, flexibility, and work-life balance are the keys to winning the hearts and minds of the Class of 2022.