Pressemitteilung – Dortmund/Dusseldorf, June 14, 2018

What Graduates Want: The Kienbaum Institute @ ISM and Capitalheads Take Stock

  • Continuity: family and friends are still the most important values
  • High expectations of future employers
  • Clear differences between men and women

Dortmund/Dusseldorf, June 14, 2018

The graduate study 2018 not only looks at current results but also includes a comparative analysis of the past three years, with clear trends and characteristics amongst Generation Y emerging. The survey was conducted at the graduate conference in Cologne and involved 119 male and female participants.

The sometimes-indecisive Generation Y was quite consistent when it came to values considered most important, with family and friends coming out on top for the third year running, and by some margin, followed by success and career in second place, and health in third place.

Omnipresent, but ostensibly not as important as might be thought, environmental sustainability and social engagement are the values least prioritized, seeing no change from 2018. By contrast, values such as self-fulfillment and foreign travel rank much higher up the list. The importance of free time is also steadily increasing.

Graduates expect more from their employers

Generally speaking, men and women are looking for similar things from their future employers, including a collegial working atmosphere, a good work/life balance, and attractive career opportunities. Women do, however, rank these factors higher than men, at 64% and 48% respectively. Differences also emerge when compared to the previous three studies: women now value decent pay much higher, with 46% citing it as important this time around, compared to 34% in 2017. For men, the proximity of their workplace to their home has become an important factor, with 54% keen to keep their commute as short as possible—up 15%.

Is it really just women who want to work in HR?

Both genders consider project management a starting point for their careers, with 52% of women and 48% of men viewing it as a good opportunity to climb onto the ladder. In HR departments though, things look somewhat different, with 39% of women favoring it to start their career, versus 23% of men. The story flips around in consulting and strategy, with a far higher number of male graduates (48%) considering it attractive than female graduates (26%). Interest in research and development as a field for a first job continues to decline for both genders.

What type of Generation Y are you?

“Classifying Generation Y according to year of birth is still a widely used approach. Our study results, however, indicate that this is an outdated view,” suggests Professor Stefan Diestel, Academic Director of the Kienbaum Institute @ ISM for Leadership & Transformation. The results showed that graduates can be divided into four different groups according to their mindset and their career motivation: those who are experience-oriented, those with ambition, those seeking orientation, and those who are career-oriented. In 2016, the group containing the most graduates was ‘those with ambition’, at almost 40%, while only 13% can be placed in the group ‘seeking orientation’. In 2018, the percentage distribution converged, with only six percentage points separating the ambitious types from those seeking orientation.

Generation Y means challenge and opportunity for companies

The results of previous graduate studies clearly show that Generation Y is far from a homogeneous concept. Generation Y values family and friends but considers success and career to be important as well. “They’re looking for flexible forms of employment, in terms of working hours and workplace for example, or childcare—and they are in a position to demand them,” says Oliver Meywirth, executive director of Capitalheads. “Offering highly competitive talent something appealing can be a key competitive advantage in attracting, retaining, and developing talent.”

You can view the study report here.

The Kienbaum Institute @ ISM for Leadership & Transformation is an innovative research center and think tank for solutions to current and future business challenges in human resource management. The institute brings together the research competence of the International School of Management (ISM) with the sound expertise and many years of experience from the international consultancy company, Kienbaum. The institute sets out to develop innovative solutions relevant to practice, in particular in strategic areas relating to leadership, HR, demography, transformation and change management.

Since 2014, capitalheads GmbH has been focused on developing innovative ways of enhancing employer attractiveness in small and medium-sized business and smoothing the entry for junior recruits into SMEs. Born out of a research project conducted by Witten/Herdecke University, Oliver Meywirth and Moritz ter Haar founded capitalheads GmbH with the aim of taking some weight off HR departments in small and medium-sized companies, while at the same time making it easier for graduates and young professionals with up to five years of experience to access SMEs in Germany. Capitalheads has been a subsidiary of HR and management consultancy Kienbaum since autumn 2017.

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