Job Hunting for College Students

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Job Perks for Gen Z

It appears Gen Zers and millennials place the utmost importance on the same job benefits and perks. Both cohorts want the opportunity for advancement at their workplace, training and development programs, work-life balance, student loan assistance, financial wellness programs, and student loan assistance.


  • QZ did a study on what Gen Zers want from work. The most cited need was the opportunity for advancement. Over 60% of Gen Zers mentioned that their goal was to "make it to the top of their profession."
  • When asked what could make them stay at the same job for years, 29% mentioned an empowering work culture, while 15% stated that a high salary is the most important to them.
  • In reference to what they must have for their first job, 70% mentioned health insurance with 63% citing a competitive salary, and 61% stating that a manager o supervisor they respect is essential.
  • Up to 89% of these Gen Zers consider a stable career path as an important or very important career priority while 87% consider competitive salary and benefits to be a top priority, and 84% prioritize work-life balance.
  • Over 60% of Gen Zers place great importance on working with people that have different/diverse education and skills while 20% believe that working with people from different ethnicities and cultures is the most essential factor in a team. Around 73% of Gen Zers stated that "a company's level of diversity affects their decision to work there."


Training & Development

  • A Gallup study revealed that career growth and professional training is vital to 87% of millennials and 69% of Gen Zers.
  • While millennials are not opposed to the traditional learning and development methods, Gen Zers want an evolved approach to learning and development. About 43% of Gen Z learners "prefer a fully self-directed and independent approach to learning." This can be done by using micro learning platforms like
  • When companies invest in training and development, they tend to be more attractive to top millennial and Gen Z talents. This also allows companies to save on expenses for turnover.
  • Millennials and Gen Zers are known to be life-long learners. This explains why they prefer training and development programs.
  • These programs also motivate millennials and Gen Zers to be the best employees they can be and instills a sense of purpose in them.
  • AT&T does this through AT&T University, an onsite virtual program that trains people on management and leadership skills.

Financial Wellness Programs

  • Millennials and Gen Zers struggle with managing short-term finances and saving for long-term goals at the same time.
  • The Society for Human Resource Management (SHRM) did a study that showed that over "60% of an average company's workforce has fair to poor financial wellness."
  • Around 64% of millennials mentioned being worried about their finances. Thus, having free access to financial wellness and literacy programs is of utmost importance to this cohort.
  • Almost 70% of millennials will struggle to pay an unexpected bill of $1,000 immediately.

Work-Life Balance

  • Up to 77% of millennials and 83% of Gen Zers claim that a flexible work schedule allows for more productivity.
  • A study by Stanford proved that telecommuters were able to do 13.5% more calls, complete 10% more work in general, and were more fulfilled at work than their coworkers who worked traditionally.
  • In addition, millennials and Gen Zers consider work-life balance as a number one priority.
  • These generations want the companies they work for to support their lifestyles through benefits like flexible scheduling.
  • About 45% of millennials prefer flexibility in their work hours to higher pay.

Student Loan Assistance

  • Almost 70% of college graduates end up with student loans worth $30,000 or more.
  • IonTuition revealed in a recent survey that young Americans struggle with managing and paying off their student loans. About 37% of respondents in this survey stated that they were falling behind on their student loans.
  • Up to 36% of millennials in this survey mentioned that they prefer having access to student loan repayment programs than 401k plans.
  • In a Business Insider study of more than 100 Gen Zers, almost 10% pointed out college debt as the main issue they expect to face.
  • Through student loan repayment assistance programs, employers can "match employee contributions to their loan repayments."
  • This will not only satisfy their workforce, it also means one less thing millennial and Gen Z employees have to worry about and more time spent focusing on their jobs.
  • Currently, less than 5% of employers provide student loan repayment assistance.
  • EY and Fidelity are some companies that are doing this in different ways. EY has a financial planning program to repay student loans. Fidelity has a Step Ahead Student Loan program. Through this program, it offers its employees a monthly subsidy towards student loans.

Opportunities For Advancement.

  • Millennials and Gen Zers prefer companies that allow them to grow, career-wise.
  • A Gallup study found that 87% of millennials consider job development important while 59% stated that "opportunities for career growth was a key factor they looked for when applying for jobs, compared to 44% for Gen Xers and 41% for baby boomers."
  • Around 64% of Gen Zers consider career opportunities important while selecting a job.
  • They are at a stage in their life where they think about their job roles as a growth opportunity or even a stepping stone. Therefore, they place emphasis on opportunities for advancement.
  • Based on a study by LinkedIn, millennials mentioned a "lack of opportunities for career advancement, followed closely by dissatisfaction with compensation/benefits as the key reasons they switched jobs."
  • This generation is hungry for new skills and is certain they can advance to any role given the right access to learning, development, and opportunities.

Health & Wellness

  • Almost 20% of millennials are unable to afford health expenses. This explains why benefits are very important to them.
  • More than a third of millennials and 80% of Gen Zers cited in a study that health benefits was their most desired benefit while at a new company.
  • Millennials and Gen Zers are also health conscious. Thus, they are beginning to care more about preventative health measures.
  • Currently, gym memberships that are free or come with reduced prices are one of the most common health benefits that most employers provide. Only a few companies also cover health insurance and offer free fitness wearable like Fitbit.
  • Millennials and Gen Zers do not only care about their physical health. One in five youths is depressed. Millennials and Gen Zers have higher depression rates than other generations. Therefore, having access to benefits like art classes and meditation, that help mental wellness is also important to millennials.


We kicked off this research by combing through news articles by business websites such as Forbes for information on the benefits, perks, and/or traits that matter most to Gen Zers. Only a few of these websites had the requested information on Gen Zers; others focused on younger millennials or college students at large. Since we needed to corroborate our findings with multiple sources, we switched gears to job-related resources like Indeed and Monster. While articles by these platforms had Gen Z in their title, their content focused on millennials. Since we needed to focus on Gen Zers, we then turned to studies or surveys done on Gen Zers by consulting firms like Deloitte and PWC. Deloitte publishes an annual comprehensive study on each generation. The Gen Z study had little to no information on what Gen Zers desire from work. As a result, could not corroborate our findings on Gen Zers across multiple sources.

Although we included the information we found on Gen Zers, we expanded our research to younger millennials, fresh out of college. We found abundant information on these individuals. We then selected the benefits/job perks for younger millennials mentioned by at least five sources. There is no agreed upon age range for Gen Zers. Some sources consider Gen Zers as those born from 1995 to 2015 while according to others like the Pew Research, anyone that is less than 23, as of 2019 is a Gen Zer. Majority of Gen Zers are still in high school or college and might not be sure of what exactly they want from a full time job. Young millennials, on the other hand, are fresh out of college and account for a significant portion of the US workforce. Moreover, most articles cite the same perks/benefits/traits that are important to both Gen Zers and younger millennials. Thus, we have provided data on both generations.
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Recruiting Challenges for Heads of HR

Recruiting new employees is often a daunting task for the heads of HR. They have to ensure that the right people join their organizations. The entry of Generation Z (born between 1995 and 2012) into the workforce has created various challenges and pain points for heads of HR during recruitment such as choice of technology, content marketing strategy, flexibility, remuneration, and demand for inclusivity.

Choice of Recruitment Technology

  • Choosing the right recruitment technology to use is a challenge for HR heads. Generation Z (Gen Z) have been brought up in a high-tech and hyper-connected environment. Although they share many characteristics with millennials, their digital connectedness sets them apart.
  • The ability to appeal to their digital preferences has emerged as a key challenge facing heads of HR. For example, many members of Gen Z use mobile devices for online activities. HR heads should come up with mobile-friendly job adverts and application platforms in order to access this generation.
  • Inability to develop and embrace the appropriate mobile-friendly technology will limit the number of Gen Z candidates accessible. During interviews, they would prefer to use mobile video interview rather than in-person face-to-face format.
  • Statistics show that 74% would prefer this kind of interview than other formats. Organizations will definitely incur additional costs as they try to adjust to the new requirements. They have to change their hiring process to attract this upcoming pool of candidates.

Content Marketing

  • Choosing the right content in a job advert targeting Gen Z can be a challenge. Gen Z is aggressive, constantly delivering, and consuming content. Statistics show that 92% of them have a digital footprint and are very selective in what they consume online and how.
  • Available data shows that they take only eight seconds to determine whether online content, including a job opportunity, deserves their attention. Visual imagery, such as digital videos, often captures their attention. Data shows that they view digital videos six times more than they read the customary blogs.
  • For HR heads, developing a content marketing strategy capable of capturing the interest of Gen Z is a challenge because they have to analyze their online trend. Analyzing the different trends the generation exhibits online for an effective content marketing strategy can be a pain point.

Desire of a Flexible Workplace

  • Gen Z is eager to join organizations that provide fluid work conditions. The routine 9 to 5 jobs are no longer appealing to them. Due to their upbringing, they would love to work from home or other remote places. They desire more freedom in their employment
  • Already, 74% of Gen Z and Millennial managers have teams working remotely. The trend is expected to escalate going into the future.
  • Accommodating such work arrangements is vital for heads of HR. They must promise Gen Z candidates that they will have the freedom to work from home or away from the office. The new conditions are a pain point, especially for organizations that are resistant to change.

Aligning Remuneration with Market Demand

  • 63% of job seekers check the employer’s benefits when reviewing a job advertisement. The salary level is a key attraction to an advert.
  • Like other employees in the previous generation, Gen Z would want a pay commensurate with their needs. Money is a significant factor to them because they experienced the 2008 global recession. Their parents were laid off during this time, a situation that makes them seek to have stable and secure careers.
  • A survey has showed that a graduate Gen Z expects to make $59,964 within a year after completing college. The figure is $10,000 above the median salary in the United States.
  • Unlike Gen Z, Millennials were anxious and stressed. Thus, they asked for a normal quality-of-life perk, which made them easy to recruit. For HR heads, recruiting Gen Z poses a critical challenge because their entry into the workforce will disrupt the cost balances.

Need to Demonstrate Diversity and Inclusion

  • Gen Z value a work culture that nurtures diversity and inclusion. They support equality in the workplace and often aspire to join a diverse workforce. A Door of Club Survey showed that 5,000 respondents would like to work for an employer who supports equality.
  • 63% of Gen Z feel that working with people with diverse skills and education levels is important. 20% think that cultural diversity is an important team element. In this survey, 77% the level of diversity in a company affects their decision to work there.
  • Millennials would continue working in a diverse company for more than five years. Conducting recruitment targeting Gen Z is indeed a challenging task for heads of HR. They have to convince them that their company's culture is inclusive, even if it may be lacking.

Research Strategy

Finding the needed content to complete the job was relatively easy because the topic is well covered qualitatively. However, quantitatively, I had to rely on statistics quoted in current web articles by different professional covering the topic. Data from various surveys, as quoted in the request has also been used to address the quantitative requirement.
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Job Hunting Challenges: College Graduates

Some examples of pain points and challenges for college graduates related to job hunting include the lack of job experience, relocation, career choice, and unrealistic/inflated expectations. Below is a deep overview of the topic.


  • The lack of professional experience is the major challenge college graduates face when it comes to job hunting.
  • Usually, when they graduate, it's unlikely they have enough experience in the field they have studied for. This makes it hard for them to get the desired job compared to a person who is more qualified in that field of work.
  • Fresh graduates are tackling this issue by doing an internship in the field they studied for, hoping to get fully employed by the company after they have gained experience.
  • According to NACE's Job Outlook survey, about 91% of employers prefer candidates who have work experience, while 65% of them prefer candidates who have relevant work experience.
  • Also, 26% of employers said they prefer a candidate who has work experience of any type and 5% said they do not consider work experience when hiring fresh graduates.
  • When it comes to a graduate's work experience, half of employers said they preferred a candidate who has gained experience through an internship or co-op.
  • In 2015, 60% of employers preferred candidates who had gained work experience through an internship or co-op. In 2016, the percentage of employers who preferred this method was at 57%, while in 2017, it declined to 56% (the remaining 44% did not have a preference in how work experience was gained).
  • According to a 2019 Internship & Co-op Survey Report, for interns, their offer rate is 70.4%, their acceptance rate is 79.6%, and their conversion rate 56.1%.
  • For co-ops, their offer rate for is 50.2%, their acceptance rate is 79.3%, and their conversion rate is 39.9%.
  • The one-year retention rate for intern hires with internal experience is 71.4 percent, while it is 59.0 percent for those with external internship experience.
  • The average hourly wage for interns is up from $0.32 to $19.05; this is the highest hourly wage thus far for interns.
  • Planned social activities and paid holidays are the most offered benefits, as they are among the least expensive.
  • Among employers that offer relocation assistance, 59.4 percent offer it to interns, while 28.7 percent offer it to co-ops.
  • The average signing bonus offered to interns this year ($2,580) is less than the average offered to co-ops ($3,546).


  • Depending on the graduate's degree and his/her area of interest, there might not be a career he/she wants in his/her hometown/city/state.
  • Fresh graduates will do almost anything to get their dream jobs, even if it means relocating to another town or city. They cannot afford to be choosy, even if they prefer working in their hometowns.
  • The other factor for relocation away from home can be that an employer in another state/town will offer a better salary, working conditions or opportunities for career development compared to a hometown/state employer.
  • Young and mid-career professionals in the age group of 35-44 (16.6%) are willing to relocate in order to advance in their careers.
  • According to Job Relocations Survey, young professionals (graduates) are more likely to relocate compared to those nearing retirement. The survey also revealed that 49.3% of people (especially graduates) were willing to relocate to seek a higher paying job or advance their career.
  • The survey also revealed that the majority of people who relocated because of a job/career were aged between 25 and 34 (40.2%), followed by those aged between 18 and 25 (28.9%). The majority of people in these two groups were graduates who took new jobs in new locations, far away from their homes.
  • Relocating is not only stressful, it is also very expensive, especially for fresh graduates.
  • During the survey, it could be found that around 26.4% of those who moved received some moving expenses from their employers, 15.75% received temporary living expenses, 12.05% receive discretionary expense allowance, and 8.7% were given a huge sum of money for miscellaneous expenses.
  • However, 29.86% said they received no assistance from their employers during relocating.
  • Those who relocated say it is a challenge to settle and adapt to a new environment.


  • Of late, the majority of college graduates are finding a separation between the course they majored in and their career options. After they enter the job market, graduates realize that the courses they did fall outside their desired or potential career.
  • This challenge is being faced majorly by the graduates who majored in non-technical courses. After graduating, they begin to realize that the courses they majored in don't have a job market, or they are not applicable to an area they want to work in.
  • As per a recent study on the correlation between a college degree and level of income, it could be found that students who pursue engineering and medical courses are likely to earn $3.4 million more in their lifetimes compared to those who pursue lower-paying course such as social work, education, art, among others.
  • According to the latest Household, Income, and Labour Dynamics survey conducted in Australia, there are uneven rates of employment, this is, some courses provide better employment prospects than the others. For example, those pursuing medical are more likely to get a full-time employment compared to those pursuing creative arts.
  • During the survey, it could be found that two out of three graduates working full time are doing a job unrelated to their field of study because of the external labor market factors.
  • Some of these factors include the graduates are only finding casual or part-time jobs, employment pertaining to the course they did is not available, and employers only want candidates with work experience. A third of graduates in Australia are working part-time.
  • Also, according to the Employer Satisfaction Survey, 84% of supervisors were contented with the quality of the candidates/graduates who worked with them, while 42% of graduates said the skill sets they learned in college were irrelevant to their employment.
  • Moreover, 64% of supervisors claimed that graduates had relevant skill sets in their field of study, while 93% of them said the degrees obtained by the graduates prepared them well for job opportunities.


  • While in college or after graduating, new graduates usually think they are entitled to their dream job because they have studied for it for many years.
  • However, in the job market, things are different. This is because they lack experience in that field of study and don't have connections to land them that dream job.
  • According to the Student Employability Index survey, which involved questioning 4,000 students from 20 universities, found that about three-quarters, 79%, of the students expect to be in a graduate-level job within six months after graduation. Here, men (83%) were more confident than women (77%).
  • Unfortunately, the government figures reveal that only half, 53%, of those who graduated in the last five years are in such jobs. However, their salary expectation was more realistic, the majority of them expect to earn between £15,000 and £24,999 within six months on their first jobs.
  • Also, the survey showed that the students' choice of college was influenced by future employment prospects and the course they were willing to study.
  • Sixty-two percent of them said they chose the college they are studying in due to job prospects after graduation, while 36% said earning was an important consideration (on this, men were 42%, while women were 32%).
  • Majority of the students (93%) said work experience is more important/essential when looking for a job. Hence, they proposed to apply for an internship after graduation to gain work experience.


During this research, we went through various reputable sources such as The Guardian, Career, Recruitor, Business, among others searching for the pain points and challenges facing graduates when it comes to job hunting. From these sources, we were able to compile the top pain points and challenges for college graduates related to job hunting (they did appear in more than one ranking list). They include; the lack of job experience, relocation, career choice, and unrealistic/inflated expectations.
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State of the US Job Market for College Students

Recent college graduates are expected to enjoy the best job market in years. College graduates have more job opportunities and better salaries than previous years. The current labor market is increasing college graduates' confidence to pursue a career that is not solely based on salary.

State Of Job Market For US college Graduates

  • Recent college graduates have a promising job market. College graduates will have an easier time finding work than at any time in the last 10 years. Unemployment is near its lowest level in 50 years, and job prospects are up significantly from just last year.
  • According to the National Association of Colleges and Employers, it is expected that employers will hire nearly 11% more graduates from the class of 2019 as opposed to the previous year.
  • The unemployment rate is lower and earnings are higher for those with a college degree than for those without one.
  • Recent graduates are confident in the current labor market; they are increasingly pursuing creative passions and social service work over higher-paying lower-risk jobs.
  • However, recent college graduated are more likely to be underemployed in jobs that don’t require a college degree.

Number Of Undergraduate Students That Graduate In The US

  • During the 2015-2016 academic year, the total number of students who received higher education degrees in the United States was 3,892,494; of that amount, 1,920,718 graduated with a bachelor’s degree.
  • It is estimated that for the 2019-2020 academic year, there will be a total of 3,898,000 college graduates in the United States, which is an increase of nearly 6 million students from the 2015-2016 academic year.

Percentage Of Undergraduate Students That Find Jobs

  • According to the latest analysis from the New York Fed, the unemployment rate for recent graduates in December 2018 was 3.7% . Hence, the number of undergraduates that were able to find jobs is 96.3%.

Fields That Receive The Most Graduates

  • Recent college graduates tend to cluster in particular jobs and industries. The industries that hire the most college graduates in 2018 are information services, administrative service and wholesale trade.
  • These industries are expected to further increase their hiring of college graduates in the coming year.
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Successful Strategies to Landing a Job

Some examples of successful strategies that college graduates use to land jobs include networking, volunteering, and research. Job search websites, social media, and referrals are places where college students get news related to job hunting.


  • Networking is among the best strategy that college graduates use to land jobs. A study by Payscale shows that "over 85% of all high-end jobs are found through networking".
  • Networking is done by reaching out to friends, business contacts, and family.
  • This can be done by meeting them in person, social media, and LinkedIn and telling them exactly the kind of position being hunted.
  • Another survey of more than 1500 successful job hunters showed "that 63% found new positions by tapping their networks of friends, family members, acquaintances and anyone else who would help".
  • According to Top Resume, a study by Jobvite's 2018 Job Seeker Nation study showed that 35% of professionals said they landed a job through a professional connection.
  • The study showed that 60% of survey respondents had referred a contact or friend to a company.
  • Networking is essential as it "has been reported that 80% of jobs are never advertised".


  • Volunteering is one of the best strategies that college graduates used to land jobs. Studies show that volunteering helps graduates land a job and is a "great way for a to give back to the community and help the less fortunate".
  • Volunteering is a great way of demonstrating and building skills that can help college graduates to land a job
  • A report from Corporation for National and Community Service, show that 27% of the volunteers have a higher landing a job after being out of the work compared to non- volunteers.
  • According to QS, employers are looking for skills from graduates that are "outside the subject area of study". Achievements such as volunteering are regarded as having equal importance with knowledge acquired in academic study.
  • Graduates who volunteer gain skills and can meet potential employers and people who could help them land a job.
  • Volunteering is important and helps graduates distinguish themselves from other graduates in the competitive job market. It also helps to prove the graduates' experience.


  • Researching on what companies that are hiring are looking for is a successful strategy that college graduates use to land jobs.
  • According to The Balance Career, research is the single most important element when looking for a job.
  • America Job Exchange lists research as the first step for college graduates seeking to successfully find a job. It is good practice to research all the required qualification for one's preferred position.
  • According to Monster, the first phase of action when job hunting is to research. Graduate students have to "identify the type of career and company culture where they will thrive and create a target company list".


  • A survey done by Online College shows that 25% of student use "job search websites maintained by their school."
  • College students can get news related to job hunting in sites such as,,,, and, Dice.
  • College students get news on job-hunting via social media. According to The Muse, 92% of companies use social media for hiring. About 45%-59% of college students use social media to find internships.
  • According to Forbes, a Jobvite’s Job Seeker Nation study report shows that 48% of "people used social media to search for their most recent job".
  • College students get news related to job hunting through referrals. This can be through friends, other employees, family, or contacts.

From Part 01
From Part 03
  • "Last, but not least is a lack of professional experience. When students finish their studies, it’s unlikely that they’ve had had enough time to gain experience in the field – meaning it’s less likely for them to get the desired job compared to a person that is more qualified."
  • "Nearly 91 percent of employers responding to NACE’s Job Outlook 2017 survey prefer that their candidates have work experience, and 65 percent of the total group indicate that they prefer their candidates to have relevant work experience. The group of respondents having this preference has dominated over the last several years."
  • "For interns, the offer rate is 70.4 percent, the acceptance rate is 79.6 percent, and the conversion rate is 56.1 percent. For co-ops, the offer rate is 50.2 percent, the acceptance rate is 79.3 percent, and the conversion rate is 39.9 percent."
  • "You may be reluctant to relocate for a job, but as a recent graduate, you can’t afford to be choosy. Depending on your degree and your area of interest, there might not be many positions for the career you want in your home state. It’s also possible that an employer in another state will offer a better salary or more opportunities for career development. You should seriously consider relocating if a great job offer comes your way."
  • "We found that most who moved for work ranged between the ages of 25 and 34 (40.2%), followed by those aged 18 to 25 (28.9%), many of which include new graduates who took their first jobs in new locations, far from hometowns and family."
  • "More frequently than ever before, college graduates are finding a separation between their major and their career options. The job market is sometimes more narrow then the college major selection, and thus many students choose courses that fall outside their potential or desired career."
  • "There are also uneven rates of employment, as some areas of study provide better employment prospects than others."
  • "The Student Employability Index, which questioned 4,000 students at 20 universities, finds amost three-quarters (79%) expect to be in a graduate-level job within six months. But government figures show that only only around half (53%) of those who graduated within the past five years are in such jobs"
From Part 05