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The Employment Opportunity for College Grads
Joyce L. Gioia, CMC, CSP --  The Herman Group Joyce L. Gioia, CMC, CSP -- The Herman Group
Austin, TX
Wednesday, July 7, 2021


The Herman Trend Alert

July 7, 2021

The Employment Opportunity for College Grads

In the past few weeks, I have written extensively about this unprecedented labor market, why it is happening, and what employers must do in response. Today's Herman Trend Alert focuses on what this market means for college graduates. To prepare to write this Alert, I interviewed thought leader Steven Rothberg, Founder and Chief Visionary Officer of job search site, College Recruiter.

Today's Graduates Are Not New to the World of Work

In this marketplace, most students graduate with at least one internship to their credit. Moreover, the vast majority have had multiple jobs. They know something about how workplaces are organized and how they operate. And although two years ago, many students would have been prepared to take unpaid internships with organizations they disliked, now they do not have to. Today's graduates are clearly in the driver's seat, when it comes to deciding for whom they will work.

The Top Job Market in Many Years

This labor market is the best in decades and included in the candidate pool are college students and recent graduates. A large minority of college graduates already had years of work experience before going back to community college; thus, they are even more savvy.

Changed Candidate Attitudes

In the past applicants felt lucky to be considered for positions. Now, employers will face a barrage of questions, including about their predecessors, including. . .

"Did you terminate your employees when COVID hit?"

"Did you force them to come into the office?"

"Heroes work here, but you only pay people $9.25USD/hour?"

Employer Attitudes Have Also Shifted

Until a few years ago, large companies only considered top grads from the top schools. Now, that is the exception, not the rule. Employers who used to recruit at dozens of schools, now seek applicants at hundreds of schools. They have discovered that what matters really matters is skills and engagement. . .and many of the skills may be taught.

Business is NOT as Usual!

Countless employers are acting like nothing has changed. They are placing the same ads and paying the same wages as they did in 2019---expecting the same result. However, we are not living in 2019, but rather 2021. What worked two years ago will not work today! Restaurants, theme parks, hoteliers, and shopkeepers will either wake up or they will go out of business.

The Employer Inertia of the Past Won't Work Today

Employer inertia used to be prevalent. Many employers had the attitude that if they let people go, there would be lots more to take their places when needed. A year ago, they terminated people. Now, when they need them back, workers do not feel any obligation whatsoever to go back to their old jobs. If employers think that they can get away with what they did before, they are sadly mistaken. Rothberg strongly believes that employers had been able to treat people poorly and pay them the same way. The business leaders justified this poor treatment by labeling workers as "lazy or job-hoppers." This spring, for the first time in five decades, employers have discovered: they can either treat their people poorly or pay them poorly, but not both. On the other hand, there is an opportunity for a reset.

Honor Issues Employees Care About and You Will Be Rewarded

Graduates are looking for employers who actually address the current social issues of diversity, equity, and inclusion, racial justice, social justice, LGBTQ rights, and of course, the environment and climate. Companies need to acknowledge where they are now and how they will address their opportunities for improvement in these areas. Communicating the message, "Come work with us and be part of the solution" is also a winning strategy. When they respond to these issues, then and only then will they be considered "preferred employers" of new college graduates.

Salaries Will Be Continue to Be Important

According to Rothberg, this coming Fall and next Winter, we will probably see a 50 to 100 percent increase in wages---for many low wage workers. Pre-COVID-19, employers were able to get away with paying $12 USD/hour; now to recruit the same employees, they are paying $18USD/hour. Shortly, Rothberg expects to see that hourly wage to jump to $25USD. Right now, many restaurants, diners, and cafés
 have posted reduced hours because they simply do not have the staff. The only way that some of them will be able to go back to their full hours will be to pay their people more.

To visit Rothberg's website, filled with great content and giving you access to college students and grads, visit CollegeRecruiter.com. here

A Final Thought. . .

We know that at least 40 to 50 percent of the folks looking for work want to work remotely. At the same time, only 9 to 10 percent of the open positions are specifically designated for remote workers. The idea of remote work also means that employees can live anywhere and work for employers in the United States or anywhere else in the world. As it was in the past when we had a sellers' labor market, flextime and flexplace will become top issues for candidates and employers. In a subsequent Herman Trend Alert, I will address how employers may adjust some positions to accommodate these strong desires on the part of applicants.

Next Week's Herman Trend Alert: The Most Overlooked Worker Segment

Older workers usually have tons of work experience, great wisdom, and the willingness to work hard. Yet in spite of laws prohibiting discrimination, employers often reject them because of their age. Next week, I will explore this lucrative, overlooked segment and talk about how hiring them could be a competitive advantage---especially in today's job market. Plus, I will talk about what the workers can do to be more attractive to company recruiters.


News Media Interview Contact
Name: Joyce L. Gioia, CMC, CSP
Title: Certified Speaking Professional and Management Consultant
Group: The Herman Group
Dateline: Austin, TX United States
Direct Phone: 336-210-3548
Main Phone: 800-227-3566
Cell Phone: 336-210-3548
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