Economy & Jobs

Dream Employers Entice Millennials With More Than Just Salary

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A recent study by the National Society of High School Scholars (NSHSS) shows that Millennials are choosing carefully when it comes to finding an employer. Hiring continues to increase as the economy improves, giving graduating Millennials the opportunity to select their dream employers rather than simply taking the first offer they receive.

The surveyed Millennials ranked top 20 employers—among them Google, Apple, and Starbucks—by employment desirability based on factors such as salary, work-life balance, benefits, and employee treatment. Of those 20 employers, some stacked up better than others when less standard considerations, such as tax implications, charitable endeavors, and company prestige, were included. The bottom line is that Millennials now regard these methods of compensation to be just as vital as more traditional options.

Higher-Education Benefits

With two-thirds of recently graduating Millennials burdened with student loans, the benefits of a career in public service come in handy. After making 120 monthly payments and working for 10 years in a qualifying full-time public service position, such as with the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA), Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI), National Security Agency (NSA), or the U.S. State Department, employees may have certain student loan types forgiven. Getting rid of debt is a top priority for Millennials, so it makes sense they would gravitate to the four employers among the top 20 that give them the chance to have that debt wiped out completely.

Tax Advantages

Saving money on taxes is another consideration. Federal income tax is expected, but state income tax varies by state. Of the top 20 employers, five have their headquarters in states with no income tax. The Mayo Clinic has headquarters in Florida. Amazon, Starbucks, and Microsoft are all headquartered in Washington.

One of the top three employers, St. Jude’s Children’s Research Hospital, is headquartered in Memphis, Tennessee, another state without income tax. Additionally, Tennessee’s low cost of living provides an advantage, particularly for recent graduates receiving an entry-level salary. Fewer taxes and a low cost of living let workers devote more money to paying down loans or finding a nicer place to live. More importantly, it gives them the freedom to enjoy life outside of work—something else Millennials rate highly.

Volunteer Opportunities

Charitable work is meaningful to Millennials. They actively volunteer and look for employers that allow them time off to do so. The Case Foundation’s 2014 Millennial Impact report shows that 87 percent of Millennials surveyed felt encouraged to volunteer or participate in their company’s community initiatives, and NSHSS survey respondents ranked corporate social responsibility second only to how the company treats employees.

Of the dream employers, The Walt Disney Company has offered Disney VoluntEARS for more than 30 years, and the Apple Global Volunteer Program helps employees get involved with their local communities.

Making Your Choice

Millenials have the rare chance to actively decide their employment future. While any of the top employers would be a great place to work, those that offer perks beyond a good salary and benefits clearly resonate with today’s recent college graduates. Employers offering higher-education benefits, a state income tax advantage, and volunteer opportunities understand Millennials’ shifting priorities in the workplace and will continue to attract the best young talent for years to come.