Millennials’ and Generation Z's desire to relocate undimmed

A study from Accenture Strategy into new graduates' aspirations show 83% would relocate to another city or region for the right job.

Group of Generation Y and Z travellers taking selfie
The Gen Z Rising: 2017 Graduate Employment Study surveyed 1,001 students between the ages of 18 and 24 in the United Kingdom graduating from university in 2017, alongside 1,001 students who graduated in 2015 and 2016.Reinforcing Generation Y/Millennials’ (1980-1993) and now Generation Z's (1993-1999) reputation for a willingness to move for the right opportunity, the survey also emphasises the importance of work-life balance and the non-monetary aspects of employment, including flexibility, to the next generation of business leaders.

Career building starts early for Generation Z

The survey from Accenture Strategy, a business and technology services consultancy, demonstrates Generation Z's ambition, realism and pragmatism towards taking their first steps on what is now often a career climbing frame rather than the traditional ladder.Three-quarters of 2017 graduates studied have already completed an internship or apprenticeship and made degree choices based on post-graduation job prospects. Almost nine in ten (88%) expect their employer will provide them with formal training.Comparing the latest graduates’ aspirations with those entering the labour market two years ago, Accenture finds 85% of the newest graduates expect to earn more than £25,000. For 2015-16 graduates, the proportion is 70%.Nearly two-thirds of new graduates (62 percent) would also “choose a fun, positive social atmosphere at work over salary.”Around six in ten (57%) also consider it acceptable to work on evenings or weekends, and 86% would think about taking an internship after graduation, if it would help them secure a job.

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Larger employers' growing attractiveness

Interestingly, the longer graduates are in the labour market, the more they want to work with large employers. Today, the largest group of 205/16 graduates would rather work for a large employer (29%), compared to 22% of new graduates.The number of graduates feeling underemployed also rises with length of time in the labour market. For 56% of 2017 graduates, they expect to stay in their first job for at least three years. However, 71% of graduates from 2015 or 2016 report feeling underemployed.

Developing skills, capabilities and careers

Recent graduates are three times more likely to stay with their first employer for five or more years if they feel their skills are fully utilised with challenging, meaningful work, says the reports authors, Payal Vasudeva and Diana Barea.Accenture Strategy therefore recommends four aspects to learning and development plans to offer a well-designed, engaging employee experience, including:
  1. Make it personal and meaningful: allow employees to make choices that align closely to their values as they change over time. Formalize the process of assigning coaches to incoming employees to help leverage their strengths and follow their career path.
  2. Create paid internships as a positive trial run: show your company’s entrepreneurial side, highlighting opportunities for development allow and to show graduates the match between what they want and the complete package you offer.
  3. Cross-train: create a boundary-less project assignment and staffing model internally, one that breaks down organizational and functional barriers and allows newer workers the opportunity to learn in multiple areas of the company.
  4. Deploy Digital Natives as a catalyst for change: create initiatives that leverage the collective digital intelligence of Gen Z graduates and their natural affinity for the digital realm.

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