Class of 2010—Show me an offer or show me your values?

Class of 2010—Show me an offer or show me your values?

Millennials have been touted as a distinct generation who have high-expectations of their future employers.  Significant research has been conducted regarding the need for companies to adjust traditional management styles and corporate policies to better align with the needs and desires of this new generation of employees.

In September of 2008, PricewaterhouseCoopers interviewed graduates from 44 countries as part of its global “Millennials Survey.”  The survey explored the long-term needs of millennial employees and revealed that:

  • 91% of North American milliennials would consider leaving an employer whose behavior no longer met their corporate responsibility expectations
  • 42% consider an organization’s climate change policy a deciding factor on whether or not to work for the organization

Since the fall of 2008, there have been significant changes in the economy.  I wonder how high the millennial generation now holds the bar for future employers.  How committed are they to working for companies whose values align with their own?

I fear the recent recession has significantly lowered upcoming graduates’ expectations of their future employers.   Rather than focus their efforts on finding a company whose values and initiatives fit with their own belief system, they are settling for any company who offers them a paycheck.   Many have likely seen their own relatives and friends experience pay cuts and job losses over the past year.  Bearing witness to such events has understandably led many millennials to reprioritize their “company wish list”—with ability to pay my rent trumping involvement in corporate social initiatives.

We need to ask ourselves what we can do as educators, managers, parents, and friends to challenge this new generation of workers to stay committed to their beliefs.   We need to encourage them to look beyond the financial offer they receive and critically assess who is signing their future paycheck.


Courtney Zegarski is an experienced research and communications professional with a passion for corporate social responsibility and social entrepreneurship. Courtney holds a B.A. in Political Science from Washington University in St. Louis and a M.B.A in Leadership & Business Ethics from DePaul, and writes extensively for the Social Endeavors Blog.