The other day in a conversation with a recent college graduate, I realized that she was probably going to take her degree and move halfway across the country. In fact, the only reason she’s still in town at all is an unpaid internship she found. She’s hoping she can take the experience she gains from interning and turn it into a local job, hoping she doesn’t have to move back home with her parents while she looks for paid work. But she’s prepared to leave.
She’s not alone. College graduates all over the country are looking for opportunities. If you want to keep them in your town, in your organization, you need to focus on what you can do to prevent the brain drain.
In the competitive job market, having an internship is an important way to stand out and get experience for your résumé. Your organization or association could benefit from what the young and educated can bring you in knowledge and labor. They’d love to have an opportunity to gain some professional work experience for their résumé. It’s not all about experience, though. Once they have experience, talented young people need a way to use it to earn a living.
Internships are great, but the truth is, they are more attractive in organizations where there is also hope to move into a paid position. Interns already know your secrets. Rewarding them with pay is a great way to retain what you’ve invested in their training and motivate them to stick around for a while longer. You already know what kind of employee they’ll be because an internship is like a months-long job interview. If you can’t employ them yourself, be sure you are doing what you can to help them find other opportunities in your area.
Gen Y won’t work just anywhere, and you can’t expect that business as usual is going to appeal to them. You need to know what Gen Y wants and appeal to them. If you can attract them, work on keeping them by creating great working conditions.
A great way to let students know you have work for them is to participate in job fairs. Build a relationship with career counselors at the local universities, let them know you can offer opportunity for their graduates. Start a student chapter of your association or organization to be even more visible and engaging for students. Start recruiting the best and brightest before they graduate. Don’t wait for them to see a job posting to let them know you’re interested in putting them to work.
The brain drain hurts everyone in a community. You want the best and brightest employees, and that means you need to make sure they aren’t leaving. A lot of different factors go into the phenomenon known as brain drain. Many of which, are out of your hands; but you aren’t helpless. Your organization can help keep local talent local by creating and communicating appealing opportunities for them.
Don’t lament the loss, prevent it.
Looking for a game changer at your next event or a strategy unique to your organization?