In the middle of an economic downturn, today's graduates are not just looking for an attractive salary as part of a job offer. Personal development is high on their wish list, as Bo Kremer-Jones discovers
There is little doubt that the economic downturn, which started in the US, has made its way over the Atlantic and is now rippling across Europe. There is increasing evidence of companies in the region introducing hiring freezes and initiating other cost-cutting measures as they prepare for bad times ahead. However, despite the gloomy outlook, the so-called war for talent is by no means over.
As firms once again struggle to do more with less, attracting and retaining the right people is becoming even more vital. How to do this effectively is one of the biggest challenges companies face. One weapon in their armour for battle is the compensation and benefits they offer.
However, this is by no means the only factor people take into account when considering where they want to work - as a recent study by the Community of European Management Schools has found in which pay ranked third in importance of what today's graduates are looking for in an employer. The top two on their wish list, according to the study, were "an employer that not only offers opportunities for personal development (95 per cent) but one that is innovative (92.5 per cent)."
These results hold true in central and Eastern Europe too. "A few years ago people would jump for any amount of money, but this is changing as the market matures," says an executive search director in the region. He continues, "There's a shift in terms of what people want. Before it was compensation and pay, now it's training and development. They are looking for career opportunities."
However, offering good pay and other desirable perks can go a long way to being seen as an employer of choice and helps to hang on to much sought-after talent. Explains Mike Johnson, author of "How to become a Talent Magnet -Getting Talented People to Work for You (Financial Times/ Prentice Hall), "Not getting a raise, getting a meagre bonus can both be time-to-go triggers. In these times of shortage, you can almost guarantee that you can get more money elsewhere, if that is all you want," he adds.