As application season rolls around, I’ve heard a lot of talk about what my peers want out of an employer. Mentorship, a solid paycheck and a relaxed dress code are all high up on the list. But there is one requirement that sticks out above the rest – we want to work for companies with strong ethical values.
Corporate social responsibility (CSR for short) has been a hot topic in recent years, and the numbers are there to back it up. According to the 2016 Cone Communications Millennial Employee Engagement Study, 64 percent of millennials won’t work for a company that doesn’t have strong CSR commitments. And while that paycheck is important, 75 percent of our generation would choose to work for a responsible company, even if it meant making less money.
So why do we care so much? While I can’t speak for everyone, conversations I’ve had with friends and classmates have given me a few hints.
We see everything.
Thanks to the digital age, we know what is going on around the world the second it happens. Twitter gives us the latest updates on riots, protests and acts of violence, while virtual reality allows us to see firsthand what it’s like to be in a refugee camp. In the past, it was a lot easier to focus on yourself and ignore the rest of the world’s problems. Now there is no excuse for being unaware of issues happening outside the borders of our county, state or country. While it’s understandable that some employers may hesitate to get involved in social issues for fear of political correctness, there is a great demand for company-wide initiatives to give back to various nonprofits and charities.
We know the impact we have.
Technology and modern science have also given us the ability to track things – our amount of followers, our number of Fitbit steps, and most importantly, our carbon footprint (find yours here). We know climate change is real and we want to minimize the damage. Companies that recognize this and give employees the opportunities and tools needed to make a difference are infinitely more appealing than companies that are solely focused on reaching sales quotas.
We’re not afraid to ask for what we want.
Most of my friends are go-getters. I admire their audacity to take risks and get out of their comfort zones. Whether it’s traveling to a foreign country or flying across the nation for the internship of their dreams, they are not going to give up easily. The same standards apply to finding an employer. We aren’t going to settle on a company that doesn’t share the same values as us – we are going to search for the perfect fit. And if we think we have an idea, we’re willing to share it – the Cone Communications Study reported that 89 percent of millennials want to provide feedback, ideas and solutions to improve CSR efforts.
The job search can be intimidating, but finding a company that shares your values is key. As millennials continue to enter the workforce at increasing rates, expect to see employers pushing their CSR efforts to new levels as well.
Emily Barber is a senior strategic communication major. She is also VP of External Relations for Scripps PRSSA. Follow her on Twitter @emilybarbershop!