What Are Today’s College Grads Looking for in an Employer?

May 25, 2019

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As anyone who has worked in human resources for a long time can tell you, the hiring game is changing and it’s only getting harder for employers and potential employees. Once upon a time, potential employees looking for work were tasked with proving their worth to potential employers. Today, top talent comes with a list of skills as well as a list of demands. Job applicants are willing to work hard for their employers, but they expect more than a paycheck in return. Here is a look at what today’s college graduates are looking for in an employer.


Today’s college graduates care deeply about work/life balance. Generation Z works to live rather than living to work and won’t tolerate being tied to a desk for more than 40 hours per week. Today’s college grads want you to judge their performance based on the quality of their work — not how long it takes them to do it. As long as they get the job done and do it well, they expect you to offer flexible scheduling policies so that they can tend to aspects of their life other than work when necessary. It’s all about paying for results, not hours.

Company Culture is Everything

Gone are the days when employees tolerate being micromanaged or caught up in difficult company politics. The current shortage of truly skilled workers gives top talent lots of choices in employers. Without fail, these employees express a desire to work in respectful and kind company cultures that emphasize teamwork, inclusion, innovation, and promotion from within. Gen Z college grads want an employer that is transparent, flexible and whose mission aligns with their beliefs — or in other words, they pay attention to how you’ve branded your company. Spend time on employee engagement if you want to retain your top talent. 

Compensation and Benefits

Members of Generation Z want more than just a paycheck, but pay still matters. Today’s college grads don’t expect to start at the top of the pay scale, but they do have bills to pay. Many take on substantial debt in the form of student loans with the expectation that their degree will garner them better jobs and higher pay. Student debt repayment begins at graduation, often occurring at the same time when they lose their health insurance coverage under their parents’ policies. Upon graduation, Gen Zers immediately need a living wage. If you can’t provide it, the best and brightest will find an employer who can.

Practical realities limit what you can offer potential employees, but focus on delivering as much as you can. If you balance your company’s benefits well, you’ll attract high-quality college grads to your job listings. Keep them happy, and many will stay and grow with you for a long time.

Not sure if your company has what it takes to attract and retain top talent? Ask The Corporate Fixer for help.



I’m The Corporate Fixer and my mission is to help people become more self-aware so that they can lead from a place of authenticity and self-acceptance.

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