Several years ago, when the job market was less promising, it was relatively difficult for a recent college graduate to find work right out of school. But lately, the economy has been on the upswing, and current students are more confident than ever about their ability to land a job and have a positive impact on the workforce.
According to the 2015 Millennial Career Survey by the National Society of High School Scholars (NSHSS), the majority of the students and young professionals surveyed expect to find a job in their chosen field right after college graduation (41.4 percent) or within six months of graduating (27.3 percent). Nearly 80 percent expect to or did participate in an internship during college as well, giving them the valuable experience they need to secure a job quickly.
The high percentage of ambitious, skilled college students and grads looking for work is good news for employers, who have a large pool of talented candidates to choose from. But millennials won't just work anywhere: The NSHSS survey asked participants about their top preferences in an employer, and revealed that the two most important factors were opportunities to gain career-advancing skills (89.7 percent) and fair treatment of employees (72.3 percent). The survey also found that nearly 70 percent of the survey participants value a flexible schedule and work-life balance when seeking an employer.
"During the economic downturn, many millennials saw their parents struggle for the good of their employer," said James Lewis, co-founder and president of the NSHSS. "The importance that millennials place on fairness and transparency is consistent with their desire to have a different experience. They ... want to be proud of where they work and have the ability to pursue a broad range of interests."
Surprisingly, all of these attributes ranked significantly higher than corporate social responsibility (45.7 percent), which had previously been thought to be one of the most important employer attributes for millennials. Overall, however, these preferences indicate that company culture and environment still matter a lot to this generation. [4 Critical Mistakes to Avoid When Hiring Gen Y]
Where millennials want to work
So, which organizations do up-and-coming professionals believe offer what they want? The survey found that tech and health care companies, and government agencies consistently ranked highest in a list of places respondents would most like to work. Here are the top 20 dream employers for this age group:
- Walt Disney Company
- St. Jude Children's Research Hospital
- Local hospital
- Health Care Service Crop.
- Children's Healthcare of Atlanta
- Mayo Clinic
- Abercrombie & Fitch
- The New York Times
- U.S. State Department
If you're looking to attract millennials to your company, it's important to have career information available on your website, since this is where 68 percent of millennials prefer to look for job information. When it comes to actively recruiting talent, the overwhelming majority of respondents — just over 90 percent — said they want to be contacted about opportunities via email. About 65 percent said they'd like to get information in person, such as at a career fair or networking event, and 45.6 percent said they would want to receive a phone call.
While LinkedIn is widely considered the go-to site for workers seeking career opportunities, only a quarter of respondents said they prefer to be contacted about job openings on the popular networking site.
The NSHSS surveyed more than 18,000 high school students, college students and young professionals belonging to its organization about the industries, companies and environments in which they hope to work. For the full survey results, visit the NSHSS' website.
Updated June 3, 2015.