AIESEC Report Offers Insight Into Effective Gen Y Recruitment Strategies

Organizational values, reputation, corporate social responsibility initiatives and sustainability are becoming fundamental traits students and recent grads are looking for when choosing whether to apply for a job opportunity with a given company.

I sat down with Gordon Ching, National Vice-President of Marketing and Communications at AIESEC, the world’s largest student-run organization, to learn more about the findings in their 2013 Youth to Business Report, a survey distributed to students at 28 universities across Canada.

The 2013 Youth to Business Report demonstrated three key insights that employers can apply to their campus recruitment strategy:

1. Open dialogue with Gen Y

The major takeaway for employers and recruiters is clear to Gordon.

“Youth want to be understood. They want a role model. Think about how you, as an employer, can reach backwards to help people whose position you were once in excel and succeed. You need to give back to youth and back to society, and mentor students and grads to help them grow.”


“It’s critical to get involved with youth and create a dialogue with them, rather than staying in the shadows.”


Establishing open dialogue with students and recent grads helps recruiters understand Gen Y’s expectations of its employer and workplace. Knowing what students and grads value is a key component to understanding how to effectively attract them to your organization.

2. Canada as a sustainable global leader

Gordon Ching

The 2013 report was centred on the question: is Canada on the right track to becoming a competitive and sustainable global leader?

With sustainability being top of mind for many Gen Ys, it’s important for recruiters to zero in on what their company is doing to improve sustainability within Canadian business. A critical aspect of sustainability is attracting youth with the rights skills and knowledge so sectors need to do a better job of communicating their current and future skills gaps.

The 2013 Youth to Business Report indicates that 47 per cent of students aren’t convinced that Canada is on the right track to becoming a competitive and sustainable global leader.

In particular, students view mining, oil and gas and manufacturing as industries on which they can have the least impact. Gordon encourages companies in these industries to focus on improving their community engagement and communicating these initiatives during the recruitment process.


“Youth want to know the values of the organization they’re applying to. They want to know what the company is doing to better their community. They have high expectations of their employer.”


“These organizations must have very visible community impact in order to counteract students’ initial reactions,” says Gordon. “It’s critical to get involved with youth and create a dialogue with them, rather than staying in the shadows.”

Gordon encourages organizations to consider the communities in which they operate, reflect on how they are giving back and emphasize the importance of youth involvement and youth leadership.

3. Organizational values and reputation

According to the 2013 Youth to Business Report, 35 per cent of students surveyed are concerned about getting a job that aligns with their values. It’s clear that Gen Y is less interested in having a “cool job” and more concerned with the impact their employer is making on the world around them.

In addition, students think that the reputation of their employer and the sustainability of their sector is the most important factor when finding employment.

“One thing I’ve noticed a lot is that youth are caring more about themselves when it comes to their careers,” says Gordon. “Youth want to know the values of the organization they’re applying to. They want to know what the company is doing to better their community. They have high expectations of their employer.”

With this in mind, employers and recruitment teams need to determine how and where to communicate their CSR and charitable initiatives to students and recent grads, their potential employees. Gordon recommends doing this through platforms like Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn.

“Employers need to build a transparent relationship with students over social media. What you do and say is your message to Generation Y.”

Check out this video showcasing Canada Youth to Business Forum 2013: Click here

How will you engage prospective hires this recruitment season?

1 Comment

  1. It’s great to see AIESEC’s Youth to Business Report utilizing the organization’s global network to truly understand the wants and needs of Generation Y in Canada. The values of Generation Y are much more relevant to organizations today because this generation cares about the impact that they are making and the personal fulfillment that their actions create for themselves.

    I agree with Gordon, that social media is a tool that should be utilized by organizations to create transparency with Generation Y. Generation Y is far more technologically advanced than any generation before them and social media is a great way to increase virtual engagement with them. Social media is an effective tool in mass communications and a great inbound marketing tactic.

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