This Week's Herman Trend Alert

Leadership in Normal 2.0

  The Herman Trend Alert

July 27, 1999

Grabbing Local College Grads

157 days until January 1, 2000

Employers desperate for motivated, qualified, and energetic workers are courting college students. Recruiting is assertive, no longer passive. We predict greater aggressiveness in the near future. The whole process is becoming intensely competitive . . . among employers and even among states.

State governments, protective of their economic development attractiveness, are strategizing to keep college students in their states after graduation. Georgia, Florida, and Maryland have programs in place. Alabama, South Carolina, and other states are considering measures such as tuition support and favorable student loan arrangements.

As we study this phenomenon from our futurists' perspective, we have several observations:

First, a substantial proportion of college grads will be highly interested in taking jobs in other states. After spending four years at an institution, and often many more in the same state during earlier years, grads are ready to spread their wings and travel. They want to try something new.

Second, companies within commuting distance of universities will employ college students before they graduate. Through internships (we see these increasing as companies use students to fill gaps in their labor availability), these employers will attempt to demonstrate to future graduates that they should stay on-board after graduation. This strategy will work with some graduates, but others will discover enough negative aspects that they'll pursue other employment opportunities.

Third, even if grads accept jobs in the same state as their university, they may leave for different pastures. There is a restlessness among people in their early twenties and mid-twenties. They are very independent and will not stay long where they are not comfortable. If they decide to work out-of-state, their decision will not be significantly influenced by the state's desire to keep them around.

While the above discussion relates to students in the United States, we see the same trend in other countries. Observers report restlessness among college students and young employees in Japan, Europe, Russia, and many other places around the world. Remember that the internet has enabled these techno-savvy young people to share ideas, perspectives, and life strategies with their peers internationally. We're moving into a much different world.

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