Recent graduates see the world of work very differently to their older colleagues.
According to new research by the EDHEC Business School in France, new graduates see work as more than just about earning money, they also want their work to be meaningful.
Talking exclusively to UNLEASH, Manuelle Malot, director of the EDHEC NewGen Talent Centre, shares: “Unlike past generations, who had to choose between social justice work at a non-profit or a competitive salary in the private sector, recent graduates want both: to work for social change and earn a good salary.
“They won’t sacrifice one for the other and, more likely than not, view them as entirely compatible. They want social impact with a private-sector wage.”
EDHEC’s survey of 2,000 graduates of the top French universities found that 31% of employees want to have a positive impact on the world, and 38% are motivated by a company’s mission statement and sustainable commitments.
Plus, for 67% of new graduates, the fact that their personal values aligned with their employers’ mission was central to why they are committed in their role.
Interesting work was also key to retention for younger generations (71%).
Managers need to step up
EDHEC’s research also showed that learning and development was top of mind for recent graduates (44%) – and 41% want their manager’s support.
New graduates have other high expectations for their managers – 73% want honest and transparent managers, and 67% desire autonomy.
EDHEC’s Malot adds: “Recent grads do not want to feel useless at work. In their view, work should offer stimulating and personally fulfilling projects and assignments.
“They are firmly attached to the idea of a professional life that contributes to the collective good of the team or company, but they also crave freedom and independence.
“This paradox could frustrate some managers.”
Managers need more support from HR, but HR also needs to step up and provide the right learning opportunities – if companies cannot meet employee needs on development, as well as meaningful work “there may be trouble on the horizon”, continues Malot.
But Malot warns: “It’s important to remember that what young employees demand today could change as they age and progress in life.
“HR managers would be well advised to remain flexible in their recruitment and retention strategies.”
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