We’re nearing college commencement season. In about six to eight weeks, excited college graduates around the country will don their caps and gowns, ready to hit the workforce with enthusiasm and a bit of trepidation.
And so, once again, we’re reading a lot about hiring – and in some cases, lack thereof.
But there’s good news for graduates and jobseekers in general: Associations and nonprofits are hiring.
According to a recent report by Professionals for Nonprofits, nearly 60 percent of nonprofits increased their staff size in 2014 and 55 percent plan to add staff this year. And, with demand exceeding supply, salaries are on the rise.
In fact, 70 percent of the organizations reported two to 10 vacancies in their organizations. As for hiring priorities, fundraising and membership tied at No. 1, with marketing and communications taking the No. 2 slot, followed by technology.
“In a major shift from 2014-2015, our survey results show that it has become a candidate’s market, increasing the challenge for nonprofit managers to find and hire the staff they need and to pay the higher salaries required,” the report says.
And demographics are shifting. Gen X – those born from 1965 to 1981 – still make up most of the workforce. After a few years under their belt, these employees are ready for leadership positions. That opens the door for Gen Y staffers – those 32 years old or younger – who now comprise half the workforce, as reported in the study.
With the shift comes changing expectations and skill sets. Gen Y is ripe with entrepreneurial spirit, independence and technologically-savvy minds. They know they’ve got the leg up, which means hiring has become more difficult for nonprofits, the report found. Job seekers can afford to be a bit more selective. Not surprisingly, the top reason for turning down a job offer was compensation. The second reason? A perceived lack of growth opportunities.
So what does this mean for associations and nonprofits?
PNP offers some tips on hiring:
- Pay competitive salaries
- Foster a positive workplace culture and environment
- Cultivate opportunities for growth, training and professional development
- Avoid a lengthy hiring process so “the good ones” don’t get away
- Be clear about job responsibilities and rewards
- Look for potential leadership capabilities in staff and new hires
All this said, here’s my two cents. My first job out of college was working for an association, from which I moved to another association. Neither was afraid to take a chance on a recent college graduate, and showed it by offering me competitive compensation and fun, inspiring work environments.
Both jobs (in the editorial and communications division) were incredible experiences, so I encourage you to tap into the newly graduated young professionals in your area.