Weekly Wrap: Survey Shows What is Driving the Internet Generation

Every generation develops their own sensibilities about work and life, and it is one of the things that makes things interesting. After all, if we all thought the same way, life would be pretty dull, wouldn’t it?

That’s why I enjoy surveys like this one from Adecco, the recruiting and workplace solutions company, that tries to capture “a snapshot of the latest generation of 22-26 year-old recent graduates with a four-year degree who are entering today’s workforce.”

Labeled as Generation I — which seems to be defined as the generation of people born after the advent AND rise of the Internet — these graduates supposedly “have a secure understanding of who they are and what they want – and they aren’t willing to compromise.”

Well, it remains to see how long that lasts, but even if it is somewhat overstated, the survey helps to give us some perspective about where the newest members of our workforce are coming from.

Where Gen I is coming from

Here are some of the highlights of the Adecco’s 2012 Graduation Survey:

  • Only 3 percent of recent graduates say they expect to stay at any given job for more than five (5) years. A third (33 percent) only expect to stay for three years or less.
  • An overwhelming 94 percent say they would be willing to move to a new city for some reason. The top reasons for relocation include job offers with higher pay (73 percent), a job offer from their dream company (59 percent) or a job offer in their dream city (51 percent).
  • Young men are more willing than young woman to relocate – if the price is right. Four out of five (80 percent) of young male graduates say they would be willing to relocate to a new city if they received a job offer with higher pay compared to only 67 percent of young women. On the flipside, 44 percent of women would relocate to a new city if their friends or family lived there, compared to only 32 percent of young men.
  • Another reason for college graduates to move on quickly – they don’t like their job. Nine in 10 (91 percent) of recent grads would only continue working at a job they didn’t like for up to a year. In fact, just one-fifth (21 percent) say they would only stay for three months before leaving.
  • There’s also little patience for salary cuts as two-thirds (67 percent) of recent grads say they would leave their current job if their salary was cut.
  • In a further nod to Generation I’s preference to pursue what they want most, nearly a fifth (18 percent) say they would leave their current job if they were assigned work that didn’t fit their interests.
  • Generation I also wants what they want and they may not be willing to settle for less. When given a list of 15 job search-related factors (e.g., good company culture, prestige in the industry, benefits, etc.), more than half of recent grads said they expect to receive a majority of them once hired. Good health benefits (74 percent), job security (73 percent) and opportunities for growth and development (68 percent) top the list of expectations.
  • Almost two in five (36 percent) 22-26 year-old recent graduates with a four-year degree have a full-time job in a field they studied in their undergraduate work.
  • An equal number of recent graduates either have a full-time job in a field they didn’t study as an undergraduate (17 percent), have a part-time job (18 percent) or are in graduate school (17 percent).

The  2012 Graduation Survey was conducted by telephone survey of 507 recent college graduates of four-year degree programs between the ages of 22-26. Braun Research did the work for Adecco between March 29-April 2, 2012, and they also explored differences between various demographics groups as it pertained to gender, age, education, geographic region, and employment status. The survey results have a margin of error of plus/minus 4.37 percent for this sample size.

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I’m not sure what you make of these findings, but if nothing else, they give you some perspective on what Generation I is thinking (and aren’t you starting to hate all these generational labels?) and some of their motivations in life.

Whether you’re an HR pro, hiring manager, executive, or just a garden-variety manager of some sort, understanding the mindset of this new generation is the first step in figuring out how to better manage them once you make the big plunge and get them on board.

Or as famed broadcaster Edward R. Murrow used to say, “good night and good luck.”

Fired for shoplifting — in 1972

Of course, there’s a lot more going on this week than where Generation I is coming from. Here are some HR and workplace-related items you may have missed. This is TLNT’s weekly round-up of news, trends, and insights from the world of talent management. I do it so you don’t have to.

  • The perks and perils of telecommuting. The Washington Post recently dug into into the pros and cons of the growing trend of telecommuting. It’s a cautionary tale, of course, with some tips for how to do it right. “From large federal agencies and private corporations to small business enterprises, employers are enabling more employees to work away from the main place of business. This trend also brings new challenges. Taking a proactive approach to managing the perks and perils of remote work can bring good outcomes for both the employee and the employer.”
  • Employee fired for shoplifting — 40 years after doing it. Some stories are hard to believe, and this one falls into that category. According to the Los Angeles Times, “Yolanda Quesada received recognition rewards, service excellence pins and other accolades over the last five years for her work as a customer service representative in the home mortgage department of Wells Fargo. Then suddenly last week, she was fired. The bank had found that Quesada had been arrested for shoplifting 40 years ago when she was 18 … The bank said it has no choice but to sever ties with employees found to have certain types of criminal records … (and it) declined to comment specifically on Quesada’s situation, except to say she was “not terminated for performance.”
  • Should dreadlocks keep you out of a job? The St. Louis Post-Dispatch has the tale of a 24-year-old former food service worker who now finds that  his dreadlocks that were acceptable in the food service industry are a reason to keep him from working at a gas station. Huh? As the story notes, “Policies on the personal grooming habits of employees land on the edge of state and federal employment discrimination laws. Companies doing business in Missouri have the right to terminate or suspend any employee that doesn’t meet established guidelines addressing hair, tattoos or dress.”
  • Teaching students about “HR on the Ground.” Students in this class at Temple University’s Fox School of Business get to do something not too many HR students get anywhere — to serve as “human-resources consultants to a group of regional Target stores.” As Temple faculty member Katherine Nelson told the Philadelphia Inquirer, “I think this class gives kids a real bird’s-eye view of what the real work world is like” for professionals, Nelson said. That’s a key point at a time when many college graduates are struggling to find work while employers complain that many graduates lack soft skills, such as a professional attitude and the ability to communicate on the job.”

John Hollon is managing editor of Fuel50, an AI Opportunity Marketplace solution that delivers internal talent mobility and workforce reskilling. He's also the former founding editor of TLNT and a frequent contributor to ERE and the Fistful of Talent blog.