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Employer Branding: Generation Y

What Generation Y really wants

The more pressure placed on Human Resource departments to retain young employees within companies, the more frequently the sought-after Generation Y is scrutinised (Generation Z is just now coming of recruiting age). Objective: Find out what young people think is attractive in an employer. I always thought that Generation Y wore its key benefit on its sleeve – or more accurately, in its name. But it seems I may have been wrong.

Recruiting is just the first step

The same litany of “added value” and “benefits” is repeated over and over again – the same one that has been touted for decades. That’s when we learn that the applicants want company cars and mobile phones, that they see continuing education as a matter of course and they prefer a comfortable working environment. It makes sense, but it doesn’t help much. These insights don’t help us figure out if the job seeker could develop an affinity for or come to like the company. Because these benefits are what everyone likes when it comes to recruiting; they are relevant to the moment the decision is made. But good, long-term personnel marketing has to focus on the relationship and developing an employer brand. Recruiting is only the first step in this direction.

Generation Y’s new preferences

What’s worse for me: these studies do not genuinely take into account the radical transition the young (and not so young) generation of employees is going through. To be honest: we already wanted benefits like a company car, a company phone and all the trimmings 20 years ago. Continuing education was already a game of give and take back then. And we didn’t want to work for free, either. The only factors that have undergone significant changes are part-time and home-office options.

Employer branding as the basis

All in all, there really isn’t anything much of interest left in these studies for successful employer branding. Because what the young people of today are really searching for is meaning, impact and freedom. If a company car is thrown in on top, even better! But if a company doesn’t take serious interest in its employer branding, then the candidate won’t land there to begin with. Mobile phone or not.

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