LinkedIn Reigns Among Young Job Hunters Credit: Job Search Image via Shutterstock

Building a strong social presence on the business-networking site LinkedIn and establishing an effective employee referral program are the best ways to attract top young talent, a new study finds.

Research from employee recognition software provider Achievers and technology company ConnectEDU has found a huge uptick in LinkedIn's role for younger job hunters. Nearly half of all millennial job seekers are looking for their next job on LinkedIn, a 29 percent increase from just a year ago.

Based on the those results, researchers suggest businesses would be best served by making career information an integral part of their social strategy, especially through college-focused career content on LinkedIn .

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In addition, with 85 percent of millennials applying for jobs directly via a company's website, businesses should also be keeping their online careers page constantly updated.

In addition to beefing up their online presence, the study shows businesses can't abandon more traditional methods.  Specifically, 70 percent of those surveyed said they will search for work through a networking or recruiting event.

Researchers advise companies to maintain a presence at career fairs and other networking events, especially on college campuses.

The study shows employers also need to do a better job of tapping into current employees and other candidates to find the best crop of young talent. Nearly 50 percent of the young job seekers surveyed were likely to refer a friend to a potential employer, with 56 percent more likely to do so if rewards were granted for successful hires.

Knowing that, researchers suggest establishing and publicizing an effective referral program to encourage new talent to bring in other new talent, while also considering rewards for candidates that refer other candidates.

Once employers find quality young talent, it is up to them to hold on to them. The study offers several specific strategies to enhance the overall employee experience to prevent workers from having a wandering eye, including:

  • Offer the opportunity for employees to spend 10 percent of their time on any project they find interesting that still supports the organization’s goals.
  • Establish strong interdepartmental communication so that employees can share experiences with one another and understand what other departments do. They may have additional skill sets or interests that can be leveraged elsewhere in the organization.
  • Allow new employees to start or join committees that drive initiatives that resonate with them personally, such as a social responsibility task force or a corporate "green" initiative.

The study was based on surveys of more than 10,000 recent college graduates.

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