Fresh graduates or experienced talents? It is an endless debate among HR managers whether to go with freshers or professionals. When it comes to salary talk, it is obvious that hiring experienced professionals involves an expensive business proposition because they have higher bargaining power. Fresh graduates, on the other hand, are often considered affordable hires – despite lack of experience. With the oldest batch of Gen Z is graduating and entering the workforce in flux, they offer unique characteristics that make more and more employers are eyeing fresh graduates.
Overview of Fresh Graduates’ Prospect
It is a fact that generally, employers favor individuals with working experience. According to the National Association of Colleges and Employers (NACE) 2020 Job Outlook Survey, the majority of employers still prefer to recruit candidates with work experiences, be it general, professional, or internship experience. Interestingly, despite the sentiment, the survey also suggested that corporations across industries are making plans to hire more fresh graduates since businesses have a consistent demand for them. This says that the prospect for fresh graduates may not be number one, but it certainly is on its way.
If you’re wondering how fresh graduates can be your BEST hires, here are several reasons why companies may just benefit more from hiring fresh graduates:
1 . Adapting to Company Culture Better
Fresh graduates may not have significant experience of working, but they certainly are more open to learning as much as they can. Aside from being keen on learning hard skills, fresh graduates can adapt to company culture better than experienced candidates. They are much like ‘blank papers’, they do not have any principal view and perspectives about workplace politics and are pretty new to what an ideal workplace culture should look like. This is your chance, as a hiring manager, to set things right. If you set the bar correctly, fresh graduates will most likely have no problem adjusting to values upheld by your company.
For example, your company has a regular weekly sharing session to let coworkers know what they are up to one another. Experienced candidates working in a company that does not adopt this culture may have problems or even hold grudges for such a meeting, thus finding it hard to engage. On the other hand, fresh graduates in the process of learning about work culture may not have anything bad to say about this session, since this is probably their first time too. Moreover, the culture of ‘caring beyond professional matters’ may shape the mindset of fresh graduates that your company embraces a sense of belonging.
2 . Creating a Culture of Innovation
In some cases, lack of experience could contribute to lower productivity and waste of time. But, this can also result in new ideas, novel talent, and concepts that have never been implemented before. Fresh graduates possess a hunger for new knowledge, bright ideas that could give more value to the company’s culture and performance. While these fresh grads have no on-job experience, they have so much worldly know-how and are brimming with ideas, since they are born and raised in a digital environment. They are willing to innovate, possess an appetite for higher risks than their experienced counterparts, who often choose safety and security above all.
For example, fresh graduates of 2021 with a growing interest in UI design may just come up with the latest innovation and design trends. These young people always keep updated with the latest trend while upskilling themselves with hard skills. This is the trait that experienced candidates rarely have because they mostly focus on their past personal experience rather than the actual trend of the outside world. Employers and HR managers should look at hiring these fresh talents, to groom them right with adequate training and offer new challenges to help them seek, learn and grow with the organization. Training and mentorship by leaders in a company also play a very critical role when it comes to hiring fresh grads.
3 . Technology Savvy
Nowadays, it is almost a certainty that younger people are far more tech-savvy than previous generations. Mistakes can be avoided and time saved simply because fresh graduates do not need lengthy explanations for each new technology tool that the company utilizes. This relates to fresh graduates having more capability to grasp new innovations while upgrading the fundamental ones. Moreover, fresh graduates might surprise older supervisors by demonstrating innovative digital or online approaches they come up with on their own. Later on, this can be shared with other coworkers to enhance the company’s efficiency.
4 . More Affordable Expense
Fresh graduates typically ask for starting salary that is much lower than the experienced ones. It is possible for employers to give specific reasons such as lack of experience, skills, industry know-how, and much more. However, it is not a good idea to offer an extremely low salary, as this leads to low employee morale thus impacting performance and productivity.
5 . Commitment to Work
Fresh graduates are precious assets offering higher commitment, compared to the older generations who hold inflexible approaches to getting things done. Fresh graduates, who are mostly unmarried, do not have spouses and children, house expenses to meet, or children to take care of. They are independent individuals willing to give in more hours at work, flexible to adapt, learn and grow. The room for flexibility, commitment towards work, and the need to know more increases the reliability quotient of employers. These new talents are counted as dependable and employers trust them with urgent issues that need complete dedication and prompt attention.
COVID-19 Has Changed Many Things
It goes without saying that the Covid-19 pandemic has changed many things for fresh graduates’ prospects in the job market. According to Randstad Malaysia’s 2021 Market Outlook & Salary Snapshot Report, industries such as banking, retail, manufacturing, logistics, and tourism are planning to invest in young candidates with expertise in Internet of Things (IoT), software development, cloud technology, artificial intelligence, blockchain, automation, and more. This has resulted in huge demand for local fresh graduates as they have a strong probability of finding employment in related sectors.
Employers and HR managers alike are eager to help the new grads, nurture and groom talent to help them harness their optimal capabilities and skills. Through time, with experience and positive workplace culture, these amateurs on the job soon become professionals. Instead of hiring experienced talent, companies can produce homegrown talent by investing in training inexperienced lot.