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Generation Y celebrating

Published: 15 March 2017

The key to holding on to your Generation Y talent

What are graduates’ priorities when choosing an employer? In our recent graduate research, 84 per cent revealed that the prospect of ‘ownership’ – such as a stake in the business, or being in control of their future - far outweighs large remuneration packages when planning their future work life. HR Director Victoria Tester takes a look at what employers should be looking at to attract and retain Generation Y.

The so-called ‘Generation Y’ has a reputation of being a bit disloyal and quite flighty when it comes to employment but, as we have seen in our research, this couldn’t be further from the truth.

Our research showed that that less than one fifth rate salary and rewards as key drivers, with more than a third of graduates rating specialist expertise (36 per cent) and a good reputation (34 per cent) amongst the most highly-considered factors.

It would seem that businesses are the ones failing to keep their finger on the pulse of what the employees of the future are looking to get out of their careers. It is likely that their ‘disloyalty’ is actually caused by employers not understanding their needs.

With the battle to attract young talent fiercer than ever, employers should look at what motivates as well as what attracts graduate-level entrants, to ensure they can keep hold of this talent pool. And from what we have seen, having a real say and impact - from robust training programmes to owning a part of the business -will help to keep Generation Y engaged.

What keeps Generation Y engaged?

  • Pragmatic structure - Nurturing talent requires a structure that is flexible to mould to individual goals and provides support in the right places. Generation Y value the agility to flex their creative muscles, while not feeling too overwhelmed.

  • No barriers to progression - Creating training programmes and a culture that encourages professional development helps put the power back into employees’ hands. Implementing access to training and a structure that clearly highlights what requirements are needed to progress will help this group of employees take ownership of their future and develop their career in an open and transparent way. 

  • Focus on both technical and business skills - Particularly within professional services organisations, having the technical skills to do the job is essential; however, it is often the business skills that are neglected within training programmes, such as access to leadership training. The combination of specific role objectives, development workshops (including technical and business skills), capability targets and support available from line managers, team leaders and internal and external mentors can help provide the fresh motivation needed to keep people interested. 

  • Brand - As reputation is a key motivating factor for the Generation Y, a company that not only looks after and nurtures its talent but that is known for it is likely to go a long way. 

  • Ownership schemes - Businesses that see graduates as fundamental to their employee makeup should now be looking at offering schemes that tap into the ‘ownership’ motivator. By incorporating ways for employees to have a real say, such as adopting an employee ownership scheme, puts employees in the driving seat and in turn, can work wonders for staff retention and loyalty. 

Despite employee ownership schemes having a number of benefits including tax incentives and increased productivity levels, it is not a decision that can be made overnight. However, creating a business structure that continually evolves and rewards employees is a very real possibility that many firms overlook. Creating the robust support network within a HR team to see the process through to fruition will ensure that any transition to employee ownership status is supported not only from a commercial standpoint, but a people one too.

"They are very professional, respond promptly, always discuss the monthly bill and have, so far, provided us with excellent advice in connection with employment issues. I have been very satisfied."

Andrew Argyle LLB, Practice Director, Potter Clarkson LLP