It’s that time of year again: graduation means that the class of 2022 is heading out to find their first post-graduate jobs. What does that mean for senior care companies looking to recruit from among these bright new grads? These are three of the most important things that the class of 2022 is looking for in a new role.


Competitive Pay

Let’s start with the basics: pay. New grads heading into the senior care niche and related fields are definitely coming in with a lot of passion, but they also want to be paid well for the demanding training they have gone through. Salary and other compensation items like medical and dental insurance, retirement contributions, and paid time off are major factors, and the class of 2022 is unafraid to be vocal about pay (and pay transparency).

New grads may need a bit of a reality check when it comes to pay, however. According to USA Today, current college students expect to make about $103,880 in their first post-graduation job, a recent survey suggests. In reality, the average starting salary is around half that, coming in at $55,260.

While pay is a significant factor for employees across the board, it’s worth noting that new graduates from the current generation are particularly attuned to issues of pay and finance. The Wall Street Journal describes the class of 2022 as “part of a generation that experts say is risk-averse and craves financial security,” largely due to the financial instability that they’ve witnessed in their formative years.

To recruit top talent, it’s important to be upfront about salary structures, benefits, and how they’re administered. At Aspen, we can help new grads understand the reality of the job market and how senior living can be a rewarding career, especially with an ever-increasing need for people who are dedicated to caring for the “Greying of America.”


A Culture Where They Can Be Themselves

What’s also near the top of the priority list for the class of 2022? Finding the right cultural fit. The latest group of new graduates is more socially aware than ever, and they’re looking for jobs that allow them to be themselves and feel accepted and appreciated. They’re looking at benchmarks like demographic numbers, initiatives towards diversity, equity, inclusion, sustainability, employee groups, statements or donations supporting public policy, and more anecdotal information like employee testimonials (both online and in-person).

This culture should be reflected in an organization that understands its employees have other demands on their time. TimelyMD, a virtual wellness provider, surveyed new graduates and found that 68% of college seniors prioritize flexible work hours in their job search. Meanwhile, LaSalle, a staffing and recruiting firm, learned that two of the top three perks new grads want are flexible hours and remote work options. While some perks, like long-term remote work, may not be possible for particular senior care and nursing jobs, organizations can look for more creative ways to offer flexible options.

Remember: senior care is an industry built on values like care and compassion. That sense of inclusion and care should and must extend to employees too. New grads entering the field will be looking to join organizations that have strong policies to support the safety, security, and success of all employees.


Opportunities for Career Advancement

Many recent graduates are already thinking ahead to their long-term careers, not just their “first out of school” jobs. Forty percent of students who responded to the LaSalle survey said that they’re looking for a job where they can be promoted within the first year.

Although it may not always be possible to offer new employees a chance to rise through the ranks quickly, companies can certainly stand out by making it clear that they invest in their employees’ long-term success. Investment can take many forms, whether it’s support for continuing education, mentorship or training programs, or career development/career ladder opportunities. The key is making it clear to new graduates that they’re not “just” their current roles – they have vast potential that their organization is interested in developing.


By Tom Zeleny, NHA