How Businesses Can Retain Graduates and Attract Gen-Z Employees

Advice for HR
10/18/2020
Steven Ferreira

The younger workforce who are beginning to start their careers in graduate roles are part of Generation Z. Although there are both positive and negative stereotypes about this newest generation of workers, organisations who are accommodating this growing workforce need to adopt a retention plan in order to maintain their competitiveness (Source).

So why do businesses need to implement graduate retention plans?

The cost of employee turnover is high and continues to grow. With many graduates showing promise of becoming great candidates for job roles, human resources need to develop strategies to remain competitive.

In the 2020 Deloitte Millennial and Gen Z survey, almost half (48%) of Gen Z respondents stated that they were stressed all or most of the time. So, what is the largest cause of that stress? Job and career prospects...

This data shows a need for organisations to value their Gen Z graduate workforce. Below are some examples of ways in which business may retain talented graduates.

Keep Graduates Engaged

To increase graduate satisfaction and retention, the need for businesses to create meaningful duties is of paramount importance.

Research previously conducted suggests that there is a relationship between meaningful work, performance, and retention of employees. Highly engaged graduates were twice as likely to remain and build a career at a business (Source). So how can you keep graduates engaged in meaningful work? Here are some ideas:

  • Setup a weekly one-on-one where performance is evaluated

  • Support graduates on owning their own projects

  • Graduates have a passion for personal growth, let them shadow senior employees

  • Introduce them to other employees to grow their network

Mentor and Develop

Gen Z have also overtaken Millennials in being the generation most interested in leaving their companies, with 50% wanting to change their jobs within the next two years.

The top reasons why graduates felt dissatisfield, besides being poorly remunerated for their work was that there were not enough opportunities to advance their career, and there was a lack of learning and development opportunities.

A way to combat graduates being dissatisfied with their job is to incorporate a mentoring programme. The opportunities that mentoring programmes offer in the development of graduates may reap many rewards for an organisation by gaining the ability to shape and mould their graduates for filling future roles. Benefits of mentoring graduates include:

  • Increased confidence

  • Higher self awareness

  • Exposure to new ways of thinking

  • Developing leadership skills

  • Increased job satisfaction

  • Increased aspiration for the future

These benefits help retain graduates as they set the employee on the path of development, building a strong foundation for personal growth and career progression.

Offer Benefits

Research concluded that current graduates are amongst the worlds most worried generation for unseen financial risks such as illness, disability and uncovered medical costs.

As well as this, 49% of the millennial workforce said retirement was an important factor for selecting their current job (source). Therefore, companies could incorporate some of the following perks and benefit plans to retain their younger workers:

  • Medical plans

  • Retirement plans

  • Health and wellness plans

  • Mental health plans

  • Exercise subscriptions

  • Cycle to work schemes

It's also worth noting that Gen Z are the most environmentally conscious generation, so organisations should consider eco-friendly benefits to help support a sustainable workplace.

These benefits will also contribute to supporting graduates' mental health as there is an external support offering. Mental health of employees during COVID-19 must be of paramount importance for organisations whose employees are working from home.

Promote a healthy work-life balance

With statistics showing that graduates suffer from anxiety due to stress levels increasing, businesses must provide a healthy, flexible work-life balance.

This can be done by providing employees the option to work from home, create a platfomr to openly discussing mental health and stress, and bring attention to focusing on personal happiness and wellbeing.

With COVID-19 forcing many employees to work from home, companies are realising the change in productivity and the overall increase in employee satisfaction. Many organisations are planning to remain flexible by allowing employees to continue to work from home going forward.

Talk to your graduate employees to find out what is important to them, and what they value from a company culture. You can then implement work-life balance initiatives to keep your Gen Z employees happy and healthy at work.


It has always been of key importance for businesses to construct retention plans in order to attract and retain top talent. But with Gen Z offering a new set of values and priorities, and 2020 having shaken up the world of work, it's time for organisations to revisit how they're retaining their graduates.


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