3 things your early careers talent want from learning at work

3 things your early careers talent want from learning at work

Share this

Early Careers Workforce, Engagement, For employers

Early careers talent – whether that’s millennials or Gen Z – want a very different approach to learning at work. 

Every year, organisations welcome new cohorts of future leaders to join them on their graduate schemes, apprenticeships, placements and now, virtual internships.

This transition into the working environment, whether that’s remote or office-based in light of the current COVID situation, can be scary and exciting. Your aim is to support them in the best way possible, to build the foundations for their future career within the business by providing an awesome pipeline of people.  

The thing is… this type of worker needs a different type of engagement from the employer; a different type of support. It’s all about creating the right environment to thrive. 

Who are they and how do they consume content?

From a generational perspective, they’re the Gen Z and Millennial teams. They’ve just joined the workforce or, they’re early in their careers – perhaps they’ve just moved into a management role. They’re on a learning curve. 

Age Generations by Pew Research

Context plays a big part in how they’ll learn at work. 

Their age, beliefs and attitudes towards leadership styles, and purpose all contribute to what they expect from you as an employer. These are the generations that have grown up with the introduction of the internet, the smartphone, on-demand Netflix-style streaming. 

What do early careers talent want from learning at work?

We’ve seen an increase in HR/People teams using on-demand learning as part of their blended learning programmes. Especially with COVID, there’s a strong drive to re-look at employee engagement and understand what needs to change to ensure teams feel valued, supported and able to thrive.

So what do your people need from you?

Learning content strategy ideas to inform what your early careers talent needs

Here are the must haves your learning and engagement programmes need to really hit the mark with the young professionals in your workplace.  

They need the solution at the point of pain: Offer on-demand content

Instant consumption of media and decreasing attention spans are fielding the move to online on-demand learning. They want the answer there and then. It’s all they’ve ever really known.

Why should learning be any different? They don’t want to wait for you to create training that’s delivered in a few weeks’ time.

They need authentic learning from REAL people

If they’re watching content that’s about a real life situation, for example, how to deal with an awkward boss or how to be an ally to an LGBT team mate, the learning content they watch needs to be real. 

You have to remember, this group of learners are *seriously* switched on.

They can tell if something is fake or an actor that is reading from a script. If you’re talking about subjects that are impacting their real life, talking about things that are important to them – such as dealing with a challenging situation, it is best not to use animation either.


They need access to content on things they’re too scared to ask you for help with.

Our users tell us that they’re worried about situations they aren’t equipped for, but don’t want to run the risk of highlighting this to their boss. 

For example, the most viewed video on Careercake last year was around how to make a phone call in an open plan office, with the video How to Overcome Phone Phobia. 

The second most watched? How to give negative feedback to your boss. 

What happens if you drill down by job function?

We have found that a lot of young people in accountancy roles tend to watch content around introversion. They question why they act the way they do or feel drained at the end of the day. (They’ve not realised that their introversion is actually a super power!)

We are expected to know this stuff before we enter work, but who teaches it?

Especially with COVID, people are experiencing anxiety around transitioning back to work, having to talk to that boss they don’t really get on with, or dealing with burnout.


Is it time to revisit your team’s employee lifecycles and understand the new challenges facing them? If so, when you’ve done so, consider the type of talent development content you need as part of your blended learning and see what insights you can glean.


More resources to help you create the topics early careers talent want from learning at work

How the world of people development will evolve post pandemic – Steal these thoughts

What Gen Z wants from the workplace: from Adobe

Latest posts

Update to the Careercake service | April 2021

Careercake Platform News

Hi Careercake community,  We’ve got a really important update to share with you regarding Careercake.  Let’s jump straight into it.  We’re going to be phasing out individual subscriptions by May 2021.  We’re making a number of important changes to Careercake over the next few months. One of those changes is the decision to stop individual […]

Read more

“The pandemic has blown the doors off the traditional on-boarding model”

Early Careers Workforce

The concept of virtual onboarding is becoming commonplace. The rules have changed, we’re seeing a hybrid of office and remote working arise. So, where do you start when re-thinking employee onboarding? We interviewed Ross from Steal These Thoughts to learn more.

Read more

Is there employee burnout in your workplace?

Mental health
Workplace challenges

The line between home and work is blurred. People are working longer hours, they’re struggling to switch off. They're feeling tired, unmotivated and are starting to question their abilities. Is there employee burnout in your workplace? We look at the symptoms and questions to ask yourself to create better environments.

Read more