It’s difficult to find reliable young talent, MRA survey says

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The latest Hot Topic Survey by MRA shows demonstrating a strong work ethic and reliability is the top competency organizations look for when recruiting young talent.

MRA’s Hot Topic Survey also revealed that the majority of organizations find it “very difficult to somewhat difficult” to recruit young professionals and that half of the organizations say it is “very to somewhat” difficult to retain young professional employees.

The Young Professionals survey was conducted April 19-29, 2024, with 280 organizations participating in the 15-question survey.

MRA is a nonprofit employer association, founded 120 years ago by 23 business leaders who were convinced of the advantages of a united approach to solving business challenges and improving employer-employee relations. Organizations join MRA to gain access to expert guidance, best practices, essential tools, and dozens of business services including:

“While finding and hiring top young talent does take time, effort, and commitment, employers have the opportunity to set up both themselves and their new hires for success,” said Amanda Mosteller, Director of Talent Development for MRA.

Training improves retention

“By providing solid onboarding and training and investing in the growth and development of young professionals, organizations are establishing long-term talent pipelines and actually improving retention.”

According to survey respondents, the top items to ensure a smooth orientation process for young professionals are: providing training and development opportunities tailored to their roles (72%); providing regular feedback and coaching on performance (71%) and covering organizational culture, values, and policies (70%).

“Once hired, organizations can implement various strategies to help improve retention of young professionals, such as offering competitive salaries and benefits, providing professional development opportunities, and flexible work arrangements,” added Mitch Thomas, executive director of MRA’s Western Illinois and Iowa offices. “When you put the effort in to hire good, young talent and take the time to develop and mentor them; it’s worth it to keep them long-term — a win for both!”

Regarding the training offered, organizations prefer training on the job (93%), followed by online courses or e-learning (66%), and industry conferences or trade shows (33%). These training courses are typically short, focused sessions of one to two hours.

Survey results also show that when onboarding young professionals, the most significant barrier in acclimating to the organization’s culture was the various communication styles (56%), mismatch of personal expectations and organizational reality (48%), and work-life balance (flexibility, remote work options, wellness programs, etc.) (42%).

 When recruiting young professionals, the top five skills and competencies organizations look for are: strong work ethic and reliability (93%), communicating openly and effectively with others (verbal and written) (91%), collaborating effectively with colleagues and teams (86%), displaying professionalism and integrity in all interactions (83%), demonstrating problem-solving skills and resourcefulness (82%). 

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