What Do Graduates Want From Their Employer?

HR & Recruitment
May 29, 2022

When looking to recruit graduates or the younger generation in general there are a few things you need to consider in order to attract them, and believe it or not, but money isn’t one of them.

Money isn’t key, but don’t be tight 

Ok well before we start, saying money isn’t one of them isn’t strictly true. Of course you still need to remain competitive. Given the skills shortage crisis we now find ourselves living in a candidate driven market, so if your reason for hiring a graduate is simply to reduce costs compared to someone with more skills, then you are going to lose out straight away. However, money is not the golden ticket in attracting top graduate talent.

Culture, Opportunity & Flexibility

Graduates have a much broader idea of what they want, with a plethora of opportunities out there, they have now more than ever the ability to negotiate and be more selective about who they start their career journey with, and there are 3 major things they look for when making these selections - Culture, opportunity and flexibility.


Company culture plays such a big part in attracting not just graduates but top talent as well,in fact according to Forbes, 2022 is set to be the year of the workplace culture as company culture becomes the key to winning the war for talent.

For graduates, company culture is more than just a buzzword meaning free breakfasts and parties, what it tells them is that the company cares about its employees, they value relationships and the connections made, and more importantly it helps them to visualise what life would be like working for you, the values you hold close and how you treat your employees.

A good way to highlight what company culture is like, is to keep an instagram page that is solely focused on highlighting all the great things your company does as a team, the events you hold,trips away etc. However, don’t just focus on the big things, also show off the day to day life, this way you’ll give potential talent and fly-on-the-wall viewpoint of what life is like as a member of your team, additionally have various members of your team (not just senior members) give a short video interview into what they think about working within your company is like. 


Having a clear path to success is vitally important for the newer generation or talent and this is not just limited to promotions, in fact according to Milkround graduates are likely to leave an organisation in less than two years with the main reason being the opportunity to learn new skills.

Graduates are looking for opportunities to develop their careers faster, and companies that invest in this are going to win, previous generations accepted a ‘dead man's shoes’ career ladder and the idea that they had to wait for someone above them to either leave or ‘die’ in order to accelerate their career, but the newer generation and the boom of entrepreneurial opportunities have created a belief that this is no longer the case. 

Detailing a clear progression path and offering opportunities to gain new skills and qualifications through your company will be hugely attractive for graduates.


1 in 5 graduates now look for flexible working as part of their package, when applying for roles, in fact this isn’t just a graduate requirement, a Skynova study found that in half of the employees surveyed, flexible working was more important than salary, and according to a Harvard Business School survey 81% of employees who experienced a flexible working or hybrid working pattern during the pandemic prefer it.

Flexible working is not just about working from home instead of the office, after all not everybody prefers to be stuck at home all day every day, it’s about developing a culture of productivity over presentism and this has proven to reduce stress, make employees happier, more productive and more importantly has now started to become the norm.

However, flexible working should still be implemented as part of a wider structure, after all if nobody is ever coming into the office how do we create a company culture? Offices should now start to be thought of as places of exactly this, culture centres, that allow employees the ability to come in and integrate better with other employees and take part in team building activities.

In conclusion,  implementing a good flexible working structure, clear progression path and ample opportunities to learn new skills, and a culture that is more than a buzzword and develops connections are all going to be super important in winning the battle for talent in 2022. 

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