The Market is So Bad for Grads that Companies Are Bending Over Backwards to Hire Them

This headline makes absolutely no sense, but please don’t shoot the messenger just yet.

If you’re confused about what’s really going in with regards to Generation Y/Millennials in the workforce, turn off the news and stop reading the papers. The media is more confused than you are. Either that, or they’re purposely trying to confuse you to force you to buy more papers to get unconfused.

Yesterday, a story appeared in USA Today under the headline, “Gen Y Most Likely to Hold Low Paying Jobs in Retail.

Within an hour, another story broke from The Wall Street Journal with the headline “More Firms Bow to Generation Y’s Demands.”

Trust your own eyes and ears

If you read both stories, you’d think the reports were coming from two different planets.

While one story claims that the job market for young people has gotten so bleak that college graduates can only find low-level retail jobs, the other reports that young Gen Y talent is currently in such high demand that employers are having to go to extreme lengths to attract them and they are pulling out all stops to retain them.

So which of these accounts should you rely on to make the important personnel decisions that affect your business?

Neither. Instead, trust your own eyes and ears.

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You don’t need a meteorologist on Mars to tell you the current temperature in your parking lot. Just go outside and feel it for yourself. Look at the skies and the direction the wind is blowing. It doesn’t take a rocket scientist, or even an atmospheric scientist, to tell you whether you will need your sunglasses or your raincoat.

Listen to what Millennials are saying

And as long as you’re heading outdoors, take a young Millennial employee with you and ask them what they think of the current job market. Ask what it is about your organization that drew them to apply, and what changes they think would make working for you even better. Ask them what the word “career” means to them, and how that fits into their long-term plans. Keep the questions short and sweet and let them do most of the talking.

Most likely, all the research you need to make informed management decisions about your new workforce and your future employment scenario is waiting for you in those casual conversations.

And you won’t have to skip through a lot of ads to get to the good stuff.

This was originally published on Eric Chester’s Reviving Work Ethic blog. His new book is Reviving Work Ethic: A Leader’s Guide to Ending Entitlement and Restoring Pride in the Emerging Workforce. For copies, visit

Eric Chester is a leading voice in the global dialogue on employee engagement, and building a world-class workplace culture. He's an in-the-trenches researcher on the topic of the millennial mindset, and the dynamics of attracting, managing, motivating and retaining top talent. Chester is a Hall-of-Fame keynote speaker and the author of 4 leadership books including his newly released Amazon #1 Bestseller On Fire at Work: How Great Companies Ignite Passion in their People without Burning Them Out.  Learn more at and follow him at @eric_chester


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