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2 Million Grads Just Entered the Workforce. Are You Ready?

Almost two million college students will graduate in 2017 and enter the job market, according to The National Center for Education Statistics. With a historically low unemployment rate of 4.4%, these millennial workers are in high demand.

Does your company know how to entice them? What do 2017 grads really want in their first job?

We spoke with Mohau Mazibuko, who graduated from Skidmore College this spring with a B.A. degree in Management and Business & International Affairs.

She sees herself working for “a branding agency in New York, in a place that is engaging, encouraging and above all an authentic culture.” She’s also thought about working in H.R. “Just like branding, it’s about finding the right fit for a brand or a position, and working with people.”

Above all, Mohau wants more than a job—she’s looking to make a difference in the world. “I want to get to a point where I work because I want to,” she said, “and can help other young women get ahead in their careers.”

According to Deloitte’s Millennial Survey 2017, this is a common refrain among millennials, who value activism, philanthropy, and making an impact on society. They also believe businesses should play a part in creating positive change.

Even with their altruistic outlook on work, young employees are often given a bad rap. “Our parents and grandparents consistently remind us to live in the moment and not let work consume our lives, but as soon as we want our workplaces to reflect a work-life balance, millennials are lazy,” said Mohau.

“I don’t want my regrets to include, ‘I worked too much and wish I had seen the world more…’ Just because millennials want to do things differently, it does not mean it’s wrong.”

Work-life balance is just one of the things Mohau wants in her first job. “I look for a workplace that is diverse in ideas, ethnicities, and an environment that works together for the goals of the company,” she said.

“I want an employer that will give constructive criticism. Growth excites me because it means continuous learning, and always adapting the situation into a learning experience.”

According to the National Association of Colleges and Employers (NACE), Mohau isn’t alone. A survey of 2017 graduates revealed that the #1 most important factor in choosing a job is an opportunity for personal growth.

Smart employers will make sure their entry-level job listings describe how employees can grow at the company. Do you consistently promote from within? Offer a transparent career ladder? Provide ongoing educational opportunities? Mention it in your job description.

Despite what you may have heard, millennials aren’t erratic job-hoppers. They want an employer to invest in them, just like they want to invest in their employer.

In fact, NACE’s survey lists “job security” as millennial’s #2 most important factor in selecting a job. Pew Research agrees: “college-educated millennials are sticking with their jobs longer than their Gen X counterparts.”

As an employer, how can you win over a top-notch 2017 college graduate like Mohau Mazibuko?

“It really does not take much,” she said. “A positive culture, room to grow as a teammate and as an individual, and a team that is passionate about their work.”

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