I read with interest a recent article which proclaims that corporate culture captures and destroys our best graduates. Particularly as PR – alongside finance, advertising and management consultancy – was listed as a pointless and destructive occupation.
While I don’t dispute the aggressive recruitment drives that multi-nationals employ to extract the brightest talent from top universities, I think it’s a little strong to liken the annual milk round to a kamikaze mission.
Having never worked for a large corporate firm, I can’t authoritatively comment on whether they habitually use the military style ‘Build them up and break them down’ tactics that the article implies. However, I think we need to give more credit to the constitution of our brightest graduates.
In her 2006 book, Generation Me, Jean Twenge discusses the confidence and assertiveness that differentiates the latest generation of jobseekers from their predecessors and highlights the fact that the ‘job for life’ ethos is well and truly a thing of the past. Last year a report from advisory firm CEB found that one in four graduates move on from their first job within a year.
On the whole, young professionals are not passive, vulnerable, lemmings ripe for brainwashing and manipulation – a fact that the corporate world itself does not dispute. According to a recent survey by EY, 36% of managers find those born after 1982, or millennials, difficult to work with. Meanwhile, Deloitte’s Millennial Survey 2015 has found that almost four in five (79%) UK millennials do not feel that their current organisations are making “full use” of the skills they have to offer. The research also found that 43% of millennials believe they will have to work elsewhere in order to gain the skills and experience they need to fully meet their career ambitions.
Behind every large-multinational’s stark façade is a team of real people, with real feelings, bursting with inspiration, compassion and pizazz. Corporations have long worked on the basis that they are only as good as the people they employ. However, since the rise of social media, big business is increasingly realising that an authentic, personable, brand perception is absolutely vital.
Thanks to the fragmentation of the media the public is more sceptical of big business than ever before. Millennials are digital-natives who digest and interpret messages and build relationships differently from their predecessors. Corporates are relying on the skills of these professionals across finance, communications and consultancy in a bid to become more ethical, transparent, and open to engagement. In other words, fit for today’s switched-on society.
Some grads will choose to join a multi-national, some won’t. But the corporates aren’t destroying the graduates –the graduates, with consent, are revolutionising the large multi-nationals. Big businesses scramble to attract the best graduates because they are desperate – they know the long-term success and profitability of their organisations pivots on the skills of the next generation of talent. It’s the graduates who are holding all the cards - and they are far from naïve.