How to Keep Early Career Talent Inspired and Motivated

Time to Read: 4.6 minutes

Updated: February 1, 2024

The generational make-up of the workplace is changing. By 2030 the baby boom generation will all be over 65 and around one third will have already retired. Their departure threatens to leave businesses in all areas of the economy missing valuable skills and experience built up over decades. On the other hand, there are over 4 million college graduates entering the workforce every year. This early career talent is an especially valuable resource, but only if organizations can attract, retain, and support them through their crucial first steps in the world of work.

What Is Early Career Talent and Why Is It Important?

Early career talent refers to individuals who are in the early stages of their professional journey or career, usually within the first few years after completing their education or entering the workforce. This can include recent graduates, entry-level employees, and those who are in the early stages of their professional development.

While this doesn’t always mean young people, recruiting early career talent is especially important for businesses who are experiencing skills gaps or who may be looking to replace higher level employees in the next few years.

Early Talent Recruitment Is Good for Your Business

Many employers miss out on early career talent unnecessarily. They might feel that they don’t have the immediate experience, or the exact skill sets to be worth hiring in the short term. But for businesses who think in the long term, hiring professionals at the beginning of their working life can be hugely beneficial.

By investing in the careers of your employees early you can be instrumental in their skill development. Helping shape their abilities to meet your needs exactly and making your business more adaptable to changing trends and technology.

Employees who feel valued and invested in by their employer are likely to stick with you, so hiring early can help with retention and succession planning. Your junior employee today could be part of your executive team of the future.

Young talent also brings fresh perspectives to the table, meaning you can be more innovative and responsive to changing customer needs and wants. They also have crucial skills available to them. Young people are digital natives, they’ve grown up honing their tech skills, and those skills make them especially attractive as more and more industries rely on technology to innovate and grow.

How to Build a Recruitment Strategy that Attracts Young Talent

If you want to attract and retain early career talent, it’s worth looking hard at how you can adapt your recruitment strategies to be more appealing and reach them where they are. Here are four approaches to keeping young talent inspired and driven:

1. Focus on Learning and Career Development

Young professionals entering the workforce are often eager to enhance their skills and advance in their careers. When you provide strong learning programs you demonstrate a commitment to employee growth, creating an attractive environment for top talent. Offering opportunities for skill acquisition and career advancement not only appeals to prospective hires but develops a culture of continuous improvement, job satisfaction, and loyalty among existing staff. And by providing training programs, and clear paths for career progression, you’ll send a signal that you value their employees’ long-term success.

2. Experiment with New Mediums

Exploring new hiring methods will set you apart from the competition and help you connect with and attract the talent of the future. Digital natives are increasingly comfortable with using social media as part of their job search so digital content such as engaging blog posts, podcasts, or webinars can be an effective way to communicate your offering and video content can provide a glimpse into your workplace through virtual office tours, employee testimonials, and day-in-the-life features. All this can be a great way to give young talent a unique insight into your company culture in a way that feels authentic and speaks directly to them.

3. Center Authenticity

Talking of authenticity, it’s important when thinking about attracting early career talent that you consider what they want from a workplace culture. Gen Z is particularly vocal about how important they find a values-led, collaborative culture that reflects their diversity. Find ways you can embed these aspects into your workplace culture and communicate that to young talent. But it’s important that if you say your culture places importance on something, that you demonstrate that with concrete actions. If you come across as inauthentic in your workplace culture and values, you’ll put off young talent.

4. Build Partnerships

Community partnerships with universities, schools, and industry associations through initiatives like workshops, seminars, apprenticeships and mentorships help you reach motivated individuals who are keen to develop their careers in your industry. Through these schemes you can provide them with hands-on experience, shaping their knowledge and skills according to industry and company needs. Building such connections will also help to grow your brand, making you the first choice for young talent looking to start their career journeys.

Investing in the professional growth and well-being of early career talent is an investment in the sustained success of any organization. By recognizing the unique needs and aspirations of the next generation, you’ll not only secure a valuable pipeline of talent but also solidify their position as an employer of choice in today’s competitive job market.

Need help reaching early career talent? Our full service RPO solution can help you with everything from building an attractive Employee Value Proposition to connecting with new talent pools. Talk to an expert today to discuss your talent needs.

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Jen Mulholland

Jen is a successful recruitment and marketing professional. Driven by a genuine passion for writing, she provides insightful, accurate and engaging content for the Human Resources community across a wide range of topics and industries.

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