Report
468
Number
Dec 28 2018

Young Professionals: Will They Come? Will They Stay? Or Will They Go?

What Filene’s research says about the state of attraction and retention of young adults at credit unions.

Taylor C. Nelms
Taylor C. Nelms
Senior Director, Research
Filene Research Institute
Report Number 468

Executive Summary

In this curated research bundle, we tackle the attraction and retention of young professionals. As Millennials and post-Millennials age into mature careers, new questions have emerged about what they value in their work and how organizations can best recruit and retain them. We reinterpret a cross-section of Filene’s research on young adults to understand these demographic cohorts’ career expectations and workplace motivators. The research reveals how credit unions can win top young professional talent and strengthen the engagement and retention of high performers.

Why these research reports?

Young people are crucial contributors to the US workforce. Indeed, Millennial workers now outnumber those from other generations. Filene has long explored the unique characteristics of young people’s financial and professional lives. What drives young professionals to take a new job, and what shapes their decisions to stay or leave? The professional expectations and motivations of young people vary considerably. Yet while preferences change over time, and we expect that as young people age, so too will their approach to work, Filene research has surfaced some general best practices in attracting and retaining young professionals.

Young workers are highly educated, but often disengaged, and this disengagement leads to frequent job change. Our research shows that while young people do frequently change jobs, they are motivated by more than strictly financial rewards. Instead, young people often change jobs in search of purpose and personal growth or in response to management relationships and workplace culture that better fits their professional priorities. The hiring process sets expectations and plays a crucial role in communicating the values and culture of employers to potential candidates—and keeping them interested.

What are the credit union implications?

Credit unions looking to attract and retain high-performing young professionals should consider the following:

  • Don’t assume the status quo works. Be explicit and strategic about your approach to talent, and incorporate hiring and retention efforts into your broader HR strategy.
  • Identify projected career paths and opportunities for growth with each job opening. Advertising “exit options” and professional development may attract high performers who can make an outsized impact in a short time period.
  • Prioritize strong management and company culture: relationships with immediate supervisors and the attitudes of senior leaders are important to young workers.
  • Embrace the credit union service mission and cooperative vision. Many young people want more out of their jobs than a paycheck.
  • Don’t overlook compensation. 44% of credit union young professionals surveyed feel that their compensation is lower or significantly lower than their peers in other industries.
  • Interview applicants early in the recruiting cycle. One study showed that the later an organization holds interviews, the lower the quality of the applicants.

Filene Research Institute has published nearly 500 research reports over three decades. The archive is both deep and wide. Single studies give us important data points about a given phenomenon. Putting multiple studies into conversation, however, allows us to connect the dots, corroborate our findings, and track trends over time. So, as we revisit Filene’s archive, we are assembling curated collections of research reports on selected topics, providing you with a more comprehensive and strategic overview and giving you the resources that you need to make evidence-based business decisions. If one study offers a window onto what’s happening in the world, these collections will give you a foundation on which to build the whole house.