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Ernst and Young recently released a new study with some surprising results. Their polls showed that 41% of new graduates in 2011 ranked career development, such as strong employee training programs, as the number one most important characteristic for a future employer to possess. Salary and benefits, on the other hand, came in second place at 21%.

Clearly, today’s graduates see the value in strong career development courses that can help them reach their long-term goals, rather than the short-term perks of high salary and benefits in a less supportive atmosphere.

If your company doesn’t offer such programs to your new and existing employees, this could become a problem for your long-term talent retention. If you want to keep those excellent employees who come in each day for more than the money, then you may wish to consider offering more career development opportunities.

Fortunately, supporting and training your employees doesn’t have to be expensive. Consider these inexpensive career development options:

1. Subscribe to a free professional development newsletter, and pass on useful information to your employees.

2. Get all of your employees to take an online personality test  to improve their career development direction.

3. Keep up with the latest employee training ideas on your favorite business blogs.

4. Use inexpensive online training courses to increase the skill sets of your employees. Consider such courses as Increasing Personal Effectiveness, Team Building, Assertive Communications, Challenging the Status Quo, Reaching Agreement, and Working Successfully in a Changing Environment.

5. Encourage your employees to maintain their work-life balance.

Surprisingly, the Ernst and Young study found that work-life balance came in fifth place rankings at 11% for new graduates contemplating their future employers. Some analysts believe that this does not mean that work-life balance is less important than it has been in the past. Rather, this figure may simply reflect a new element of practicality that new graduates possess when facing an uncertain job market.

Based on the results of the Ernst and Young Study, if you wish to attract and retain talented young employees, you should think beyond salary and benefits to be sure to provide a supportive, growth-inspiring atmosphere that offers ample career development opportunities. Also encourage your new graduates to learn how to start their careers with a healthy work-life balance that will lead them to long-term success.


New Graduates Want Career Development Opportunities

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