- As the economy remains deeply uncertain, recent college graduates entering the workforce are skittish about Q2 through Q4, researchers at job platform Monster reported.
- About 3 in 4 graduates (74%) said they’re worried about economic conditions. And while the majority of respondents told Monster they’re confident they’ll land a job, 79% of soon-to-be-college graduates still expressed fears around security and stability.
- A final brutal assessment about the future of work: About half of graduates say they don’t expect to find a job at the company they prefer.
From an employer branding perspective, HR pros may want to note that most job seekers notice when headlines and surrounding chatter signal financial hardship at a company. About 7 in 10 said they wouldn’t apply to work somewhere reporting lower-than-average earnings. Three in 4 said they’re not applying to companies that have recently laid workers off and 77% said they’re bypassing employers that have recently implemented salary freezes.
In a weird way, the current dispassionate dynamic painted by Monster — that recent grads will find a job, but they’ve accepted it won’t be their first choice — may work to the advantage of some employers. More than half of survey-takers said that in this economic climate, employers “have more leverage to find the best candidates,” Monster reported. About half said that they’ve broadened the scope of their job search to different industries.
The job search expansion, however, is happening with some caveats: A fair amount of respondents reaffirmed that they are avoiding open roles at embattled companies and are avoiding struggling industries altogether.
This echoes sentiments expressed at the top of the year, following the first few waves of massive tech layoffs: Gen Z talent experts told HR Dive the 2023 career market for new grads in tech looked bleak. One early-in-career talent professional pointed out that of course, not everyone in the U.S. works at a big tech firm, “but we’re all going to feel the squeeze.”
If unfavorable headlines are already swirling around one’s company — or industry as a whole — what can HR professionals do?
Polish up the rungs of the corporate ladder, Monster’s findings suggest. On the list of college seniors’ workplace must-haves were career next steps and the support to take them. A little over a third said immediate growth and advancement were the “most important aspect” of their prospective post-grad job. And up from 33% in 2022, 54% of respondents said they’d decline a job offer if said company didn’t offer professional growth opportunities.