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Accenture: Companies aren’t investing in young talent

Wednesday, February 10, 2016  
Posted by: Barbara Francella
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Today’s college graduates are prepared, pragmatic, hopeful and confident – but their commitment is not being met by employers, making employers the "weakest link in the talent chain," according to a study by Accenture.

Recent grads are thinking about potential jobs before choosing a major field of study and are pursuing internships and ongoing training opportunities, according to The Accenture Strategy 2015 U.S. College Graduate Employment Study. But high percentages of graduates report low salaries, underemployment and a lack of learning experiences that advance their career. Significantly, only 15 percent say they want to work for a large company.

An online survey of 1,001 U.S. students graduating from college in 2015 found:

  •  Eighty-two percent of new grads looked at the job market before choosing a major, up from 75 percent of 2014 grads.
  •  Seventy-two percent participated in an internship during college, up from 65 percent of prior-year graduates.
  • Seventy-four percent expect to be with their first job for at least three years, up from just 43 percent of 2013 and 2014 grads.

On the down side:

  •  Half of 2013 and 2014 graduates consider themselves underemployed.
  •  Just half of recent grads report their employer provided formal training opportunities.
  •  Only half of 2013 and 2014 respondents are employed full time, down from 68 percent in 2011 and 2012.

Accenture recommends four strategies for companies to seize the opportunity to differentiate themselves by attracting, developing and retaining the best and brightest new talent:

Act like a small company. Even a large company can act like a small one with the right organizational structure and attention to building a positive work environment. Offer entry-level employees challenging work and create a culture of growth and advancement.

Get digital. Digital is no longer an option; it’s the reality. Because young people use digital channels such as social networking while prospecting, employers must invest in those channels.

Engage earlier. It’s important to engage with recruits earlier in the supply chain. If you don’t have an internship program, it’s time to start one.

Differentiate on talent development. The gap between expectations for training and the reality of what recent grads have experienced presents employers with a significant opportunity to differentiate during the recruiting and retention parts of the talent supply chain. It’s also a way to strengthen the organization through ongoing capability development.

 Accenture "Class of 2015" infographic

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