05
Apr
2017
article

The next crop: What drives Millennial, female and older graduates?

When looking to attract quality graduates, it is important to understand what drives different segments of graduates in the talent pool.

Three graduate segments that have unique drivers are Millennials, women and older graduates. Since they make up a very high proportion of the workforce, it’s prudent to understand how they look for work and what attracts them to certain roles.

Understanding graduates

Millennials: same, same but different

Millennials have come under intense scrutiny for their work practices, but are the assessments of them fair?

According to ABS ‘Share of young workers’ data, some of the ‘fickle’ behaviour that’s been documented doesn’t hold weight under scrutiny. Their reported propensity for job-hopping is quite the opposite, with fewer Millennials changing jobs than their equivalent generation 20 years ago (13% vs. 17%).

Where they do differ is in their approach to finding meaning in their careers,

Millennials want to engage with an experience or solution, not a brand. Relying on well-worn rhetoric of what a great opportunity it would be to have your company’s name on their CV won’t cut it with this savvy, holistically-minded generation. Quick to learn, and quicker to connect, this group want to get hands-on with a role of substance as soon as possible.

SEEK research found that nearly twice as many Millennials cite career progression as the most important factor when choosing a company to work for compared to the rest of the workforce (57% vs. 30% rest of the market). This is likely attributed to the fact that these graduates are at the beginning of their career, are less likely to be committed to a mortgage or family commitments, and have flexibility to change roles and gain experience.

If ambitious, experience-focused Millennials are just what your organisation needs, how do you go about attracting them?

While it’s true that Millennials use social media far more than the rest of the market at 27% versus 13%, you’ll still find them primarily looking at online job boards. In fact, at 77%, Millennials are nearly three times more likely to use an online job board than social media when they search for their next role.

What drives millennial graduates?

Female graduates: the new majority

With two-thirds as many women graduating as men, understanding what engages female graduates throughout the recruitment process is a key skill many hiring managers are putting into practice.

So, how can you harness the employment potential of the new majority?

Getting in front of female graduates early and strategically is key to making sure they’re unwavering on your path.

Female graduates use a smaller portfolio of job-hunting tools than males when it comes to sourcing a role and while males use approximately four different sources on average to find their next opportunity, SEEK data reveals females on average use three. Specifically, female graduates are more likely to use online job boards and less likely to use professional networking sites.

Knowing that there are fewer chances to make an impact, changing the way you approach writing job ads is the best tool in your kit.

SEEK research suggests that women are less likely to respond to ads that have more than six criteria in the job requirements, or gender-coded ads that veer towards more traditionally ‘masculine’ language.

Examples of traditionally ‘masculine’ words include:

  • driven
  • self-confident
  • outspoken
  • hardcore
  • guru
  • expert

SEEK research found that ‘female-coded’ words resonated more with their female graduates.

Some examples include:

  • trusting
  • co-operative
  • connect
  • balanced
  • foster

In short, when trying to attract female graduates, language plays a large role. Consider less criteria and more collaborate terms and language to appeal to this segment.

Gen X: the time of their lives

The segment that is given the least amount of consideration when employers consider graduates is the 35 to 45-year-old Gen X subset. With so many bright, young things clamouring for your organisation’s attention, it can be easy to forget that there are plenty of graduates with solid life experience looking for a fresh start — and their wisdom and hard-earned diplomacy might be just what your team needs.

Gen X makes up 20% of all graduates, so it’s wise to focus on them in a deliberate and meaningful way to make the most of your recruitment efforts.

These older grads — who are more likely to have family responsibilities and a mortgage — are looking for job security first and foremost (14.8%), followed by work-life balance (14.5%), salary and compensation (12.0%), and then working environment and career/development opportunities (11.3%), and location (11.2%) when assessing their employment options.

Cover your bases

Just as there’s no one-size-fits-all approach to job-hunting, there’s no one-size-fits-all approach to recruitment. Segmentation is key to ensuring your ad is seen and responded to by more than one category of graduate, broadening your likelihood of increasing your organisation’s diversity and securing the very best of the best talent for your team.

Want to learn more about Gen X grads? Read more about the top 5 benefits of hiring older graduates

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About the author

Erin Delaney has worked as a content director, editor, senior journalist, copywriter, digital producer and project manager for more than a decade. When she’s not writing about the intersection of technology and, well, everything, she’s walking her dog or got...

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