Recruiters Look Beyond Backyard To Find Gen Y

By SHRM Online staff Sep 29, 2008

More than two-thirds of recent college graduates would relocate for a job, and 70 percent would be willing to move overseas for an employer, according to the 2008 Hot Cities Survey.

“Employers have the opportunity to attract a larger entry-level talent base by sourcing beyond their geographical boundaries,” said Jenny Floren, founder and CEO of Experience, a career service company geared to recent graduates and young alumni.

“It’s imperative that recruiters understand what motivates Gen Y and then promote the comprehensive benefits of their job opportunities, including the aspects of living in a specific region,” she said in a press release. “When organizations can attract and retain large numbers of young professionals with optimized workforce development efforts, there can be a real economic boon to the city.”

Career opportunities (44 percent) are the top reason those born between 1979 and 1999 would relocate, far outpacing a city’s social scene (19 percent) and family reasons (6 percent).

Findings from the online poll Experience conducted in August 2008 with 277 college graduates revealed that this group finds the following cities most desirable for relocation:

  • New York, 12 percent.
  • Washington, D.C., and Chicago, both 8 percent.
  • San Francisco, 7 percent.
  • Seattle/Tacoma, Wash.; Atlanta; Boston; and Charlotte, N.C., 5 percent.

However, about one-third of those surveyed cited a high cost of living as a factor for turning down a stellar opportunity that required relocation.

Steven Rothberg wrote in a 2006 entry on the blog that in general, members of Gen Y choose where they want to live and then their job, not the other way around.

To be competitive, he suggests that employers whose location is unattractive to young adults “invest more heavily in [their] community rather than just investing in [their] recruitment advertising and spin doctors.”

For rural communities with high unemployment and a failing downtown, that means helping to rejuvenate the community’s downtown. For an urban community with pollution and high taxes, he recommends focusing on “bringing down the tax rate and cleaning up the lakes. By making your region healthier, you'll also take a big step toward solving your recruiting problems.”


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