The release of the October 2022 jobs report had an interesting mix of data. The number of job openings eased but wages increased and we are looking at a 50-year low unemployment rate in the US. Talent acquisition professionals continue to face a giant chasm between worker supply and demand with nearly two job openings for every available worker. This mismatch has driven wages to historic heights and, amid economic uncertainty, businesses are growing cautious about adding high-cost staff to their payrolls. While the labor market is showing signs of cooling, things are still too hot to handle for most talent acquisition functions.
Early career talent might be just the protagonist needed to give this story a happier ending. Early career professionals– generally new grads or career changers – are a rich source of talent. Gen Z is expected to make up more than a quarter of the global workforce by 2025. The cost of hire and training for Gen Z is usually higher than for more experienced workers, but they are motivated to grow and will bring valued skills and insights. The investment in this generation’s training and development will pay dividends in loyalty and reduced attrition.
Early career talent might not have years of work experience, but they make up for that with some key differentiators: They are adaptable, and eager to learn; they are digital natives and bring innovative, tech-enabled solutions; and they make up an increasing proportion of every company’s target consumer, and bring great insights to help appeal to the hearts and minds of their peers.
Eager to learn
Almost every sector would benefit from hiring early, trainable, nearly deployable talent that can be skilled and built within the organization from the ground up. Retention of employees is top-of-mind for everyone from executives to TA professionals to front-line managers. Universum noted, in their 2021 “World’s Most Attractive Employers” report, that early career talent prioritizes training and development as the second-most desired attribute in an employer. Investing in early career talent is a terrific way to build loyalty that can bolster retention.
Gen Z was raised with technology and are versed in its many uses. Younger workers can be more tech-savvy than workers decades into their careers. Early career job seekers have grown up with technology and are more open to the usage of it than older generations. Employers often find that an early career hire with only an internship under the belt might have more relevant technology skills than someone with five years of experience because technology changes so rapidly.
Growing proportion of consumer base
Gen Z is an emerging force of trendsetting consumers who influence the purchasing behaviors of older generations and they have also been noted as having significant influence on product trends, thus extending their value far beyond their own purchase power. No matter if your business model is B2B or B2C, this generation is poised to become a growing proportion of your customer base, and having inside insight can be invaluable.
Given the unique and desirable qualities that early career talent brings to organizations, it seems like a great time to shift the percentage of early-career talent hires into overdrive. Overall, Gen Z is going to become a key player in the workforce over time. By 2036, many currently in the workforce will be retired, and the youngest member of Gen Z will turn 19. It is increasingly important that we appeal to this generation, recruit them and learn from them.
While early career talent can help solve hiring issues, it only happens if companies are willing to invest in this type of talent and the tools necessary to hire them. This generation is hungry to learn and tech savvy, so offering early career talent digital learning and skilling opportunities as part of your talent acquisition process can give you an early competitive edge when trying to attract Gen Z.
Forage works with leading companies around the globe to build virtual job simulations to support students in development of skills and confidence they need for career success – even before they apply for a role. If you want to learn more about how Forage can help you tap into early career talent with pre-skilling, schedule a consultation here.