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Unique insight into the attitudes and expectations of today’s leading graduate talent

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Tirana, 4 April 2013– Despite common beliefs to the contrary, members of the so-called ‘Generation Y’ (those born in the late 1980s and early 1990s) are not a homogenous group sharing similar attitudes to work and work-life balance. Students from Poland and Hungary, for example, differ considerably in their attitudes to work, career plans, expectations and ambitions. What’s more, those from the Baltic states (Lithuania and Latvia in particular) are more optimistic than those from the other nine countries, while those from the Balkans are the least positive. 

This is one of the key findings of Deloitte’s 3rd “First Steps into the Labour Market” report, which for the first time includes input from over 4,000 “talents” across 11 different countries in the Central European region (having expanded from one country in its 2010 debut issue and five in 2011), where “talents” are defined as deliberately targeted group of students and recent graduates mostly from business faculties in major cities. 

According to Gavin Flook, Talent Partner, Deloitte Central Europe, “While it is good to see high levels of personal confidence among so many of the participants in our survey, it is hard to avoid the conclusion that many will eventually be disappointed by the fact that employers do not hold them in quite such high esteem as they do themselves. 

More than 68% of the Albanian participants believe that they offer higher value as a potential employee. And since most of the respondents are at the very beginning of their career, it is quite understandable that their beliefs are based on academic progress rather than on real job experience- emphasizes Nuriona Berdica, Audit Director, Deloitte Albania

“The students and recent graduates we surveyed also reported that they felt universities could and should provide better preparation for the world of work and the process of finding a job. Maybe better preparation of this sort would ensure that recent graduates deliver better value for their employers from day one.”

According to Nuriona Berdica,“The career services department within the universities shall need to put more efforts in creating programmes that will assist students in exploring and developing their future career plans; coordinating graduate/professional school fairs, seminars, workshops to assist them in those endeavours. In addition, the collaboration gap between universities and business community is a factor which tells us that now is the time for the universities to adopt approaches and programmes that contribute to a better informative and educative system of course by working closely with the business community".

Improvement in this area may, in fact, have a key role to play in addressing high unemployment among young people, including graduates, which is one of the most significant issues affecting the Central Europe region and EU as a whole. 

Another interesting highlight is that a high proportion of students and recent graduates from leading universities across Central Europe tend to rate their own abilities highly, ahead of those peers with whom they are competing for employment. And in a closely related issue, their financial expectations for a first job can also exceed what the region’s employers are prepared to pay their first-time employees, often significantly exceeding their country’s average national salary. 

The report also found that many of the attributes of an employer that are most effective in attracting and retaining the region’s leading graduate talent are not difficult or expensive to implement. For example, opportunities for lasting development and learning are the most important criteria in selecting a job, while appreciation and recognition for the quality of work done are the most powerful means of retaining the best people. As Flook comments, “These tend to be attributes of good employers anyway, and are actually more effective than offering high salaries.” 

In addition, the report shows that today’s young people value work as highly as older generations do, exploding the myth that they are more focused on self-development and free time. In fact, they value work sufficiently highly that most respondents say they would be willing to move, either within their home country or abroad, to take an attractive job. According to Flook, “Such readiness to relocate may help international corporations to fill the talent gap, although it may also create a drain on talent in local employment markets across the region.” 

Visit www.deloitte.com/1stepsto for a complete regional overview of “First Steps into the Labour Market” Survey 2013

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