In the midst of job application stress (which, in a moment of desperation, a friend of mine likened to Dickens’ Oliver Twist asking for more gruel –, “please sir, can I have this job?”), we tend to forget that the hiring process is a two-way street. You want to bring your skills to a great employer, but employers also want to snag the best talent they can get. And they’re willing to fight for it.
Now, in case you’re having one of those overly self-deprecating moments while reading this, I’ll clarify: as NSCS members, you are the crazy-talented young things I’m talking about, and employers are eager to have you! Using tools like the Universum survey, companies are looking to find out what exactly you, as a Millennial, are looking for in an employer to help gauge what will bring in the best candidates. According to the 2012 Universum survey, the top four companies who delivered the ideal Millennial workplace were:
- Walt Disney Company
Maybe I’m wrong, but I don’t think the FBI earned its ranking by providing employees electric scooters to zip through the hallways to the cafeteria. Google does. I’m not mad about it. And unlike Disney, Apple doesn’t offer its employees discounts at its theme parks (this, also, probably applies to the FBI). Clearly, there’s something more than just particular perks that excites us. Indeed, Universum found that what matters most is a company with
- Respect for its people
- Secure employment
- A creative and dynamic work environment
- A friendly work environment
- Ethical standards
Nary a superfluous perk in sight. Asked directly about their ideal workplace, it is evident that Millennials are clear about what they need.
“A fast-paced job is a must. I couldn’t work in a static environment – I need to feel I have space to grow, opportunities to challenge myself intellectually and gain more skills” says Domonique Parkes, an undergrad at the University of Maryland.
Victoria Roehrich, a recent Georgetown University graduate now working in consulting, explained an element of her approach towards selecting an employer: “I tried to imagine myself in the position: would I be reviewed consistently and fairly, and compensated accordingly? Would there be space for me to grow into managerial positions?”
Our generation has a reputation for having high expectations in terms of our achievements and our potential; yet as Victoria alluded, we balance this with a strong desire for honest feedback and constructive criticism of our work. Millennials’ tendency to embrace a feeling of freedom and individuality is also alive and well in our work environment preferences, as expressed by Deen Wright, a junior at Howard University: “Some companies are really centralized: ; if you’re working your way up from the bottom, there’s not even a chance you’ll get into a meeting with the CEO, much less offer him an idea. I want a company that empowers its employees with an open and decentralized culture while simultaneously offering flexibility.”
Insights into the human psyche are only of use if they help shape our path forward. Lucky for both parties, (Millennials and talent-seeking employers), increasingly more companies are conducting research on employee needs in the workplace and adjusting accordingly. The end result is that employers attract more talented workers, and young adults have more opportunities to enter a workspace that enables them to actualize their potential.
In sum: Ask questions in interviews, answer workplace satisfaction surveys, and be honest about what matters to you. Employers are listening, so make your voice heard!
Kaia Tack is a junior at Georgetown University majoring in Marketing at the McDonough School of Business. She is anxious to begin a career in public relations or brand management upon her early graduation in December 2014. She currently works as a Marketing Communications intern for the National Society of Collegiate Scholars, and is also an Xtend Barre fitness instructor. To contact Kaia, e-mail email@example.com.