Research says employers should do more to look after their youngest recruits
Underestimate Generation Y at your peril. That's the message from new research into the attitudes of the youngest members of the UK workforce. The report, by Real Prospects 2009, found that almost half of the 24,500 graduates surveyed thought their company was poorly managed. "These views are the norm for Generation Y, and employers have to accept and work with them rather than battle against them," says Penny de Valk, chief executive of the Institute of Leadership & Management.
According to the Association of Graduate Recruiters (AGR), this year's graduate job vacancies have been cut by a quarter. But the dwindling number of opportunities doesn't appear to have persuaded graduates to rein in their opinions. Many complained to researchers that they weren't being given a chance to show creativity and innovation. "Our own research shows the ability to adapt and develop creative and positive solutions is a very important characteristic, particularly in this economic climate when organisations need to stay ahead of the curve," says de Valk.
"Ambitious young graduates feel undervalued when they aren't listened to or their opinions appear to go unnoticed. Employers that underestimate Generation Y are likely to feel the consequences when the recession lifts."
Carl Gilleard, Chief Executive of the AGR, says: "We cannot hide from the fact that dramatic vacancy cuts will make the job search very tough for graduates both this year and probably next year, too. However, very few employers have abandoned their graduate recruitment programmes altogether and most are likely to reinstate recruitment levels at the first sign of an upturn in the economy," he says.
Among the worst hit sectors are engineering, IT and banking, where fierce competition produces an average of 50 applications per job. One fifth of all employers received between 501 and 1,000 applications this year and 25 per cent had to look through up to 2,500 applications. The only sector to buck the downward trend is energy, water or utilities, which experienced a 7.1 per cent rise in vacancies. The vast majority of employers (92 per cent) are expecting to fill all of their vacancies in 2009.
A majority of employers (62.7 per cent) are offering fewer vacancies than last year with the average number of vacancies now just 20 per employer, down from 35 in 2008. "One small consolation is that paid graduate internships have been relatively unaffected by the downturn and most employers are offering at least 10 placements. The government's new internships scheme, while not a panacea, will also help many graduates this autumn," says Gilleard.
Posted 8 July 2009 : Director.co.uk