Much of the discussion regarding millennials and their career preferences revolves around meaningful work and the desire to make a difference. As the Society for Human Resource Management reports, a recent Futurestep survey of 800 executives reveals that their experience is that millennials “are less motivated by compensation and more motivated by their ability to make an impact, their career advancement possibilities and the feedback they receive.” Other research has pointed to the importance of flexibility — whether in the form of flexible hours or telecommuting — to millennial workers, as well as the appeal of casual work environments and generous vacation.
As such, countless companies have created recruitment marketing materials that emphasize how working there offers the chance to make a difference, with salary and benefits taking a back seat. Others play up their hip cultures and appealing perks. But while the belief that starting salary has become less of a driver for this generation, research by the National Association of Colleges and Employers into the benefits that matter most to STEM students when considering a job indicates that STEM students are still very focused on the financial aspects of the offer.
More specifically, the majority of STEM respondents pointed to the following benefits as being most important to them:
100% employer-paid insurance
Annual salary increases
401(k) company match
Frequent performance reviews, casual dress policies, flextime and telecommuting were rated much lower in importance. “More than two weeks of vacation” landed somewhere in the middle among STEM students, which is a far cry from students as a whole who rated “more than two weeks of vacation” as the most important benefit.
While there are many factors that are likely driving the varying perspectives, one thing is clear: Even among millennials, different things matter depending on who you are talking to. Understanding how perspectives and preferences vary among the students your organization is trying to reach can help tremendously in terms of ensuring that your recruitment marketing messages resonate with your target candidates.