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Training Beats Bonuses for Gen Y, Study Says

It's a brutal job market out there for recent grads as hordes of ambitious young people battle tooth and claw for what seems like a meager supply of decent jobs. From the perspective of the lowly career starter it looks like the workforce is awash in talented, educated, eager young people. But apparently, from the lofty perches of CEOs, there's actually a shortage of young talent. That's what PricewaterhouseCoopers 2011 Global CEO Survey seems to have found anyway.

PwC spoke to 1,200 company leaders and government officials from 69 countries for the latest edition of their annual report and discovered that, while growth in Europe and America isn't exactly robust, CEOs are nonetheless confident their companies will grow. The war for talent is back on, they told PwC, especially in Asia.

"Shortages of the right people with the right skills in the right places remains a major concern," says PwC, noting that 66 percent of CEOs fear talent shortages will constrain their company's growth.

So apparently, if you're the right sort of grad -- the cream of the crop with key skills -- you are actually a pretty rare bird and can call the shots on what you sort of benefits it will take to lure you to a particular company. What are the best of Gen Y demanding? If you guessed more money, you're dead wrong, says PwC. Instead, attracting and retaining the best young workers is all about company culture, training and mentoring. According to the report:

The expectations of the Millennial generation [aka, Gen Y] differ from those of its predecessors.... This generation has grown up with technology and social media as part of their everyday life. They have also grown up knowing that their relationship with a company is unlikely to be a life-long one. They are seeking more to life than "just a job": more money and climbing the ladder are not what drives them.
If you want to organize a company to attract Gen Y, Vineet Nayar, CEO of HCL Technologies in India, advises, "hierarchies have to disappear. Generation Y expects to work in communities of mutual interest and passion -- not structured hierarchies." But it's not just a sense of community and a flat organization that will bag you the best of Gen Y talent. Young stars also want to feel they are learning and growing in their jobs.
For Millennials training and development is the most highly valued employee benefit. The number choosing training and development as their first choice of benefit is three times higher than those who chose cash bonuses. 98 percent believe working with strong coaches and mentors is an important part of their development.
What does this boil down to? If you want to attract the very best young grads, play down hierarchies, play up mutual pursuit of larger goals rather than climbing the career ladder and, for God's sakes, give them a mentor and career development opportunities.

Do you agree with the report's findings?

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(Image courtesy of Flickr user leighblackall, CC 2.0)