Technology departments depend on innovation, which requires thriving, dynamic team environments. Yet it’s difficult enough for companies to find qualified workers, let alone cultivate the ‘diversity of thought,’ that leads to a competitive advantage. There is a way to address both problems at the same time – by recruiting first-generation college students.
Graduates whose parents didn’t attend college are a special and overlooked source of talent. However, if you don’t proactively reach out to them, they won’t automatically come to you. In other words, if you don’t make an effort to recruit, hire and develop first-generation graduates, you could be bypassing a valuable source of talent.
As you focus your efforts on first-generation graduates, here are some benefits and challenges to keep in mind:
More Likely to Relocate
First-generation graduates are slightly less likely to decline a job offer because of its location than their non-first generation counterparts, according to a survey conducted by the National Association of Colleges & Employers.
Employers located outside metropolitan areas struggle the most to find qualified technology workers. This can include government agencies, which often have facilities in less populated areas of the country. Channeling efforts to recruit first-generation graduates may help create new pipelines of talent.
They’ve Had Jobs
First-generation graduates are more likely than non-first generation graduates to be financially independent from their parents, according to a Pell Institute study. That means, among other things, they are more likely to work while enrolled in college.
On one hand, employers should find this attractive, since these are graduates with who understand what it means to participate in the workforce. At the same time, working while attending college is a constraint that limits first-generation students from participating in job fairs, unpaid internships and other job-seeking and networking activities. To engage in effective outreach, organizations have to make concerted efforts to address those constraints. They have to proactively recruit with those constraints in mind.
First-generation graduates are also more likely be older and have minority backgrounds, according to the Pell Institute study. The contribution of their experiences, often downplayed or overlooked, make technology teams stronger by encouraging ‘diversity of thought.’ Organizational cultures that prize different approaches to problem-solving should recognize first-generation graduates as an asset.
Revature Facilitates the Search
Revature is committed to creating the world’s most diverse and dynamic community of highly skilled and creative technology pioneers. We are a group of people, including first-generation graduates, with wide-ranging passions and aspirations, united by common values. Our communities are inclusive, diverse, respectful, caring and fun.
Our mission is to create a pathway where university graduates with diverse backgrounds can build the knowledge, skills and abilities to reach their potential as technology professionals and leverage those talents to contribute to the growth and success of our customers.