Progressive employers tap into Generation Y's talent

With nearly 2.5 million fans on Facebook, 48,000 followers on Twitter and a prolific output of videos on YouTube, the mobile telecoms group Nokia is a company that seems to know what makes Generation Y tick.

But the world's largest maker of mobile phones doesn't just use social media to promote its products. Sites like Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn are an important recruiting tool and a way for Nokia to identify its future employees. It has a Facebook group called Future Talent at Nokia ('liked' by 5,764 people) where recruiters answer questions about working at the company, post information about job and internship opportunities and provide interview tips.

"We want to have a conversation with them," says Matthew Hanwell, HR director, communities and social media at Nokia. "It's not the usual post-and-pray approach to recruitment. This is much more about developing and evolving a relationship with people that ultimately could become an employment relationship."

Nokia's easy rapport with Generation Y -- the brand-conscious, technologically-savvy and highly-networked generation of workers born in or after 1980 -- is no accident. Since they entered the workforce, Nokia, which defines Generation Y as those born between 1978 and 2000, has paid more and more attention to them, says Hanwell. It has tried not only to understand what makes them different but also how they will shape their workplaces. Already, they make up between 30 and 40 percent of Nokia's global workforce if factory workers are included and the average age of the Finnish company's employees is just under 33 years.

"Over the last few years we have taken this topic very seriously and we have been actively researching and participating in research around Generation Y," Hanwell says. "They are the future of the workforce of every company."

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