Training and Development Trumps Salary for New Graduates

According to recent research conducted by Ernst and Young, graduating students consider the availability of training and development a more substantial positive factor than  a large salary when selecting a future employer. The biggest change in students’ views between 2007 and now has been their concern with work-life balance, which fell from the third most important factor in 2007 to the fifth in 2011. Although one might assume that graduates  value a healthy work-life balance over most other work benefits, survey results indicate  that an increasingly competitive jobs market is tempering their expectations.

This sea change may give organizations freedom to develop their workforce while maximizing their budget. In 2012, less money can be spent on salaries, freeing up funds to provide training programs that organizations may have been missing in the past few years. Additionally,  the development initiatives can be offered to all employees, not just recent graduates, to provide organization-wide benefit.

Moreover, employee development and training offer flexibility in cost and reach that salaries do not.  With embedded evaluation, the benefits of training and development can be measured according to the company’s most immediate priorities, whereas salaries are fixed, and their return not directly measurable. Training leads to an increase in perceived employee investment and therefore results in stronger employee commitment. Effective programs repay the organization with more productive employees.

So, what are the practical implications of this change in graduates’ values? Organizations will be saving money on salaries in 2012, and will save even more by allocating that money to develop a more productive workforce. What are you doing to make training and development available to workers?

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