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Recruiting and Retaining Young Professionals: Part II – A Viewpoint from Our Nationa's Young Professionals

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Utilities, Engineering Firms, and Government Agencies in the water industry are all faced with the same problem: An existing work force that is getting older and an incoming work force that is getting smaller. Additionally, the generation gap between the existing work force and the incoming work force has resulted in a “disconnect”. So, how does a utility/firm/agency recruit and then retain the incoming Young Professionals? What kind of weapons should utilities/firms/agencies keep in their arsenal for the “War on Talent”? Is there really this divide between generations? Instead of guessing, why not ask the Young Professionals themselves? This study is a continuation of the pilot study 2006 pilot survey conducted in Alabama and North Carolina, implementing the lessons learned about the survey creation and data analysis while distribution the survey nationwide.

The results of the study indicate that even with the power and availability of the internet increasing, the best technique for finding and recruiting of YPs is through “word of mouth”. This reaffirms the value of face-to-face communication for YPs. Overall, ideologies are similar to SPs, which are generations apart. However, where YPs appear to favor immediate financial benefits in their final decision process, SPs prefer longer term options. To retain YPs and SPs, maintaining industry standard salaries and providing a good environment were both important. In addition, SPs should be provided with advancement opportunities while YPs value the type of work.

Document Type: Research Article


Publication date: 2008-01-01

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  • Proceedings of the Water Environment Federation is an archive of papers published in the proceedings of the annual Water Environment Federation® Technical Exhibition and Conference (WEFTEC® ) and specialty conferences held since the year 2000. These proceedings are not peer reviewed.

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