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New data reveals Gen Z career insights as Aurecon launches 2019 graduate recruitment

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Aurecon's 2019 graduate recruitment campaign survey revealed the career aspirations of Generation Z across Australia, New Zealand, Asia and Africa.

7 March 2019 – Aurecon has announced new survey results about the career aspirations of Generation Z (Gen Z) as the global engineering and advisory company launches its 2019 graduate recruitment campaign offering 140 positions to service Australia and New Zealand’s infrastructure boom.

The global research surveyed 258 employees born from 1994 onwards across Australia, New Zealand, Asia and Africa to uncover the ambitions and challenges facing this generation as they enter the workforce.

Overall, respondents rated serving a purpose and alignment with values as more important than salary when choosing where they want to work. Almost half (49%) ranked ‘serving a purpose and leaving a positive legacy for future generations’ in their top three characteristics when choosing an employer, while only 6.5 per cent listed salary as their top priority.

Aurecon Chief People Officer Liam Hayes said that 2019 marked one of the first years that Gen Z would enter Aurecon’s workforce through the company’s graduate programme, and the survey demonstrated the significant value this cohort placed on purpose and leaving a legacy when choosing an employer.

“At Aurecon, we believe that humanity depends on engineering and are in the business of creating clever solutions to some of the world’s most wicked problems, so Generation Z – often dubbed the Harry Potter generation – will find they can make the difference they are driven to aim for by working here,” said Liam.

The survey also found that flexible working is critical to this cohort, with almost one third of respondents (27%) ranking flexibility of working when and where they want in their top three characteristics when choosing an employer.

“Aurecon is ahead of the curve and leading the engineering sector in workplace flexibility with initiatives such as YesFlex, which empowers employees of all positions to embrace flexible working and nominate their start and end times,” said Liam.

“Catering to Gen Z requires a different approach and providing flexible working, or the ability to ‘work differently’, is an important aspect in attracting and retaining talent. As the future of work is changing there is a need to adapt in order to create a future-ready workforce with nimble, flexible work environments and a fluidity between traditional models of work and on-demand work. 

.“The future of work is a hotly debated topic with government, industry and the education sector considering and planning how the nature and type of work will radically change over the coming years. This includes the impact of rapid advances in technology and changing work models from traditional, ongoing work in a single role to on-demand project work.

“Aurecon has a diverse range of learning and development opportunities to help graduates prepare for the new technologies and evolving work models that are defining work of the future and will transform the way we engineer, design and advise,” said Liam.

In 2019, Aurecon will recruit approximately 140 graduate students across Australia and New Zealand from the mechanical, electrical, civil, structural, chemical/process, environmental and geotechnical engineering streams, as well as project management, surveying, and planning degrees.

In addition, Aurecon is currently recruiting emerging and intermediate advisory professionals to support its rapidly growing Advisory business that achieved 26 per cent revenue growth in 2018. These are not graduate appointments but are early-career practitioners with degree qualifications in commerce, economics, finance, business, engineering or similar disciplines. 

The research also highlighted a disconnect between university education and how prepared graduates felt to enter the workforce, suggesting that tertiary studies should involve more industry collaboration to better prepare graduates entering the workforce. Just under 50 per cent of respondents (46%) felt adequately prepared for work after university, and almost one quarter of respondents (23%) ranked industry knowledge as the skill (out of 10) they felt the least confident about bringing to the workplace. 

“Employers can help to bridge this gap through working in partnership with academia – at Aurecon for example, in addition to our learning and development programmes, we have a successful internship programme with universities such as the Royal Melbourne Institute of Technology (RMIT) where PhD students are able to test their research in real-world environments,” said Liam. 

For more information on the survey findings, read the thinking paper HERE.

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