In a post-pandemic world, a proactive outreach to younger candidates for higher education institutions will be crucial to offsetting an impending wave of retirements, as well as setting institutions up for future success. Millennial and Gen Z workers tend to look for different things in jobs than their Gen X and Baby Boomer predecessors did, but there are still many higher ed job perks that are appealing to this rapidly growing portion of the workforce. Taking these perks and benefits into consideration when you build out your employer brand and refine your recruitment process will help you get the best talent possible from Millennial and Gen Z pools.
When compared to traditional private sector jobs, there are many benefits that higher ed employees enjoy that can be deciding factors for job seekers. Check out the following list of items to convince top notch Millennial and Gen Z candidates to pursue a career at your educational institution.
- Access to education benefits. Access to tuition waiver, exchange, or remission programs is a huge benefit that should be built into your employer brand. The appeal of furthering one’s education, or providing their spouse or children with the opportunity to do so at a fraction of the cost it would be otherwise is a perk unique to higher ed. Make sure to highlight specific programs that may be of interest to Millennial and Gen Z employees, and provide a list of any other schools you may be working with on a tuition exchange basis.
- Work-life balance. The standard time off offered in the private sector is two weeks, in addition to standard holidays. Working in education can be great if you value more of a work-life balance, as many younger job seekers do. On top of standard holidays and PTO, schools often give their employees time off that coincides with students’ extended breaks (e.g., a longer winter and/or spring break, full week for Thanksgiving, etc.) If you work for an institution with a religious affiliation, you may be able to offer your employees even more days off during the year based on religious holidays that many standard private sector organizations do not officially recognize. Make sure to lay this out in no small detail when building out your employer brand and job postings.
- Retirement benefits. Although pay for educational institution jobs is not at the top end of the spectrum for salaries, it tends to have better offerings for benefits than the private sector, such as retirement contributions. Other benefits offered to retirees include continued access to campus amenities like the bookstore, fitness centers, or access to arts and entertainment events taking place at a discounted rate.
- Housing. Depending on your institution’s size and location, housing benefits can be a huge draw for younger job seekers. If you have any campus housing that is subsidized for employees or faculty, you should include this as a key part of your recruitment strategy. Similarly, if there are any programs related to relocation costs or other means of reduced mortgages or rents for employees, add this to your overall employer brand.
- Convenience and college-town environment. Working on a campus can come with a lot of time-saving perks that make employees’ lives easier once they go off the clock for the day. Access to stores, restaurants, or other services right on campus can minimize their need to travel to complete errands. Similarly, many younger prospective employees may enjoy living on or near a college campus, since the off-campus restaurants, nightlife and access to arts and entertainment tend to be nearby. Remember that many Millennials and Gen Z job seekers have not yet started or are just beginning to start families, so this may be a great perk if they are looking to enjoy the city or town they work in.
- A positive and rewarding mission statement. Unlike in the private sector, where the goal is mainly to attain customers and profit, working in education may be more fulfilling and rewarding for prospective employees who value the work that goes into supporting students’ ability to grow and learn. If your school has a particularly strong mission statement or commitment to a particular area of education, diversity, equity, inclusion, and/or improvement of the overall community, these ideals should be displayed prominently in your recruitment efforts to get like-minded Millennial and Gen Z candidates excited to apply.