Where Do Young Workers Want to Work? No Surprise – It Starts With a G

This hardly comes as a big shock, but guess where the younger generation wants to work?

If you said Google, Apple and Facebook, you win the prize.

The Wall Street Journal reports that according to a survey by employment data and consulting firm Universum, some 6,700 young professionals (defined as college graduates under the age of 40) with one to eight years of work experience chose their ideal employers from a list of various companies. Here are the top 10:

  1. Google — named by 19.67 percent;
  2. Apple — 12.74 percent;
  3. Facebook — 8.90 percent;
  4. U.S. Department of State — 7.89 percent;
  5. Walt Disney Company — 7.67 percent
  6. Amazon — 6.63 percent;
  7. Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) — 6.59 percent;
  8. Microsoft — 5.76 percent;
  9. Sony — 5.14 percent; and,
  10. Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) — 5.04 percent.

The strength of Google’s brand

Some of the companies at the bottom of the list? Sears was No. 137 (0.44 percent), Campbell’s Soup was No. 134 (0.45 percent), Salesforce.com was No. 136 (0.44 percent), and Qualcomm was No. 142 (0.39 percent).

Last on the list was Capgemini at No. 150 and named by only 0.12 percent. It’s a consulting and outsourcing company based in Paris with 115,000 employees In North America, Europe, and the Asia Pacific region.

Although there has been a lot written about Google perhaps hitting a wall now that the company is a little older, more mature, and past the go-go growth stage, it still seems to have an incredible and hard to match brand when it comes to attracting smart, young talent.

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As The Journal points out:

“Google has “established a very strong brand in what its culture is, in what it’s like to work there,” says Chris Cordery, Universum’s director of Americas. Based on the responses to the survey, Mr. Cordery says, candidates “look at Google as compensating employees well and offering challenging work but at the same time it will be a fun and strong culture.” …

Meanwhile, many young professionals are interested in leaving their current jobs, the study found, with some 61% hoping to leave their jobs within the next two years. Given the rough economy, “they’ve hung onto jobs probably longer than they would have liked,” says Mr. Cordery.

Nonetheless, 40% of respondents also said that among potential employers job stability was very important, especially in this layoff-prone environment.

“Stability is still very much a concern and people equate government jobs with stability,” he says, noting that the State Department, Federal Bureau of Investigations and Central Intelligence Agency were in the top 10 slots.”

Another message about employee engagement

Yes, more and more workers — young or not — want to leave their current jobs and move on to something better. This isn’t surprising given the steady drumbeat of studies showing how fed up workers are with their current employers and the lingering resentment over how they were (and in many cases continue to be) treated during the worst of the Great Recession. Any uptick or improvement in the economy and job market and they’ll be on their way.

This is the ongoing downturn of employee engagement that all too many companies want to ignore. I know there are naysayers out there who keep saying “where are they going to go?” but eventually, the economy WILL start to improve. When it does, the migration of these disengaged employees, along with the slow but steady departure of the baby boomers into retirement, will finally force that “new” war for talent that so many have predicted for so long.

So take a good hard look at this Journal story and ask yourself, “what can my organization do to make itself more attractive to younger workers?” If you’re not asking that, well, you should because it is going to become more and more critical in the not-too-distant future whether we like it or not.

John Hollon is Editor-at-Large at ERE Media and was the founding Editor of TLNT.com. A longtime newspaper, magazine, and business journal editor, John has deep roots in the talent management space. He's the former Editor of Workforce Management magazine and workforce.com, served as Editor of RecruitingDaily, and was Vice President for Content at HR technology firm Checkster. An award-winning journalist, John has written extensively about HR, talent management, leadership, and smart business practices, including for the popular Fistful of Talent blog. Contact him at johnhollon@ere.net, connect with him on LinkedIn, or follow him on Twitter @johnhollon.

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2 Comments on “Where Do Young Workers Want to Work? No Surprise – It Starts With a G

  1. Thank you, John, for sharing and commenting on this insightful WSJ survey.  Do you think management has the skills to guide and engage this new and determined Millennial segment of the workforce?

    1. Frankly Michael, I don’t believe that Corporate America as a whole has any more understanding of how to properly manage the Millennial generation than they do any other of the generations working today. The “penny-wise, pound-foolish” attitude so many have adopted through the Great Recession and beyond is what is driving the disengagement of so many workers. 

      Many others don’t agree with me on this. They believe that workers have nowhere to go, so all the griping and talk about a lack of engagement is moot.

      But, I believe that A) great talent ALWAYS has the ability to make a move; and, B) that a day of reckoning is coming somewhere down the road for all the employers and organizations that have taken their workers for granted. The lack of engagement will grow as an issue, and when many managers and executives figure it out, it will be too late.

      Millennials will survive because they will adapt. In fact, they already are. The 10-15 percent of smart and people-savvy organizations understand this already. The rest? They may never figure it out.

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