What the Class of 2022 Really Wants

What do the new college grads from the Class of 2022 really want as they enter the workforce? That’s the question many organizations are asking themselves right now as the latest crop of new graduates prepares to join the full-time working world. Here’s what to keep in mind when crafting a strategy to recruit these potential new hires.

Flexibility Is Key

Over the past few years, organizations have seen an enormous increase in the number of workers seeking flexible, hybrid, and remote work arrangements. For new grads, this newly changed culture is the norm that has been their entry into the work world. So, expect applicants from the class of 2022 to be prioritizing flexibility.

A survey conducted by TimelyMD, a virtual wellness provider, reported that 68% of college seniors are prioritizing flexible work hours in their job search. Additionally, in a survey conducted by staffing and recruiting firm LaSalle, two of the top three perks new grads seek are flexible hours and options for remote work.

However, the exact nature of that flexibility seems to vary. Among TimelyMD’s respondents, 42% specifically want a hybrid or remote arrangement (24% prefer a hybrid position, while 18% seek a fully remote one). On the other hand, 90% of students surveyed by LaSalle want flexibility in some form, but only 11% said they wanted full-time remote positions.

Balance Tangible and Intangible Benefits

 While “perks” may be fun and flashy, the class of 2022 is interested in what most employees seek: a job that pays well. The Wall Street Journal describes this class as being “part of a generation that experts say is risk-averse and craves financial security,” which means they’re more likely to be very open about their salary requirements. With a job market that is largely in their favor, new grads have the luxury of being choosy (the National Association of Colleges and Employers Job Outlook 2022 report reports that employers intend to hire 26.6% more new employees from the class of 2022 than they did from the class of 2021). LaSalle reported that only 20% of new grads had already accepted a new position, suggesting that these prospective employees are taking more time to consider their options and aren’t interested in settling.

New grads are looking for more intangible benefits as well, such as a workplace that invests in developing their careers. Among students in LaSalle’s survey, 40% said they’re looking for a job that will promote them within a year; career advancement is a major priority. While fast promotions may not always be in the cards, career development can be. Companies that offer mentorship opportunities, training programs, certifications, and other career support are likely to have an easier time with recruitment and retention.

Communicating a Welcoming Culture

 It should come as no surprise that new grads from the Class of 2022 are just as concerned with questions of culture as they are more “traditional” markers like pay or vacation time. New grads are interested in the overall culture of the companies they work for, from their commitment to sustainability to how they’re tackling issues of diversity, equity, inclusion, and belonging.

It’s not just about having these policies in place but also communicating them effectively. That might involve employee testimonials, transparency about different aspects of culture, and clear answers to the questions that interviewees are likely to ask.

By Rose Dorta

Are you a high-performing leader or believe you have the potential to tackle a more challenging role? Would you be interested in career opportunities that are seeking these attributes?

I’d love to chat with you and answer any questions that you have. Email me, Rose Dorta, managing director of Kaizen HR Solutions, here.

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