Attracting and retaining graduates: Winning the war on talent for the new generation of employees.

In a market where we are seeing a shortage of workers across all industry sectors and a sharp rise in wages, attracting high performing youth and graduate talent is on every employer’s action list.

Competition is high, so it has never been more crucial for employers to understand how to win the war on talent for our Generation Z (Gen Z’s), to understand how these candidates think and what they want, when they have an abundance of choices when it comes to their future employer.

 Attracting Gen Z’s

Gen Z’s were raised in the age of technology and social media. Social media is the first point of connecting a graduate to a company, with 70% of employees looking at online reviews before applying for a role, and 69% of employees only applying for a role if the company has a positive reputation.

Social media is a great tool in highlighting all the benefits of working for a company. Employers should share posts that:

  • Give graduates a glimpse of the working environment by interviewing current employees or giving a virtual tour of the office.
  • Highlight the social community in the company. 2 in 5 graduates believe that a company’s people and culture are the most important factor when considering employment.
  • Highlight the company benefits. 93% of graduate employees agree that an employee benefits program plays a key role in whether they want to work for a company.
  • Showcase the diversity of the work environment. 77% of Gen Z employees agreed that a company’s commitment to diversity would be a deciding factor in choosing a role.
  • Display the company’s flexible working options. Flexibility is a highly favourable aspect among Gen Z employees.

In the early stages of their career our Gen Z’s are more likely to be attracted to workplace experience, learning and social aspects of the workplace, and not just remuneration or flexibility (though this is key too!)

Retaining our Gen Z’s

Creating meaningful tasks and duties is crucial to increase graduate retention. Research has found that meaningful work plays an important role in enhancing employee engagement. To keep graduates engaged employers should invest in:

  • A structured onboarding process which guides and integrates an employee into the company. A strong onboarding process can increase new hire retention by 82% and productivity by over 70%.
  • Providing frequent constructive feedback and setting regular one-on-one catch ups to assess performance.
  • Communicating tasks effectively.
  • Allowing graduates to have more autonomy in managing their own projects.
  • Keeping work tasks interesting by delegating a range of different projects with different work groups.

Gen Z is drawn to personalised career experiences. It is important for employers to show that they are committed to investing in an employee’s career.

 Developing skills

Gen Z value and are motivated towards career progression with 76% agreeing that learning and training is the key to their advancement. Employers need to emphasise their commitment to training and leadership development.

Incorporating a mentorship program can also be a great way to support graduate development. Pairing a graduate with a ‘buddy’ during the onboarding process can:

  • Provide support and encouragement for a graduate in their career and personal development.
  • Enable a line of communication for continuous feedback.
  • Increase a graduate’s confidence and self-awareness.


With the rise of the Gen Z workforce it is important for employers to realign their efforts into ensuring that they understand what these potential candidates want, and are prepared to adjust their strategies to meet the needs of future employees.