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Why young professionals want to grow their careers with us

Our efforts to build a generationally diverse workforce earns us the top spot on Forbes’ ‘Best Employers for New Grads’ list

June 9, 2021

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young professionals standing against a wall

Deciding where you want to start your career after graduation is not always an easy choice. Should you join a company with a big recognizable name or a small start-up? Do you want a place that aligns with your values or one that has the biggest impact?

For Aadi Mhatre, a 2019 graduate of Carnegie Mellon University, finding a company that valued an employee’s long-term future was key.

“As the first step in my career, I wanted to make sure that I was setting myself up for success,” says Aadi, now a specialist in global vaccines technical operations.

Aadi joined our company in 2019 after completing an internship here the previous summer. He says the internship program was the “key thing that led me to come back to Merck.”

Aadi Mhatre as an intern speaking with his former mentor
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“My mentor shared his experience but also connected me to people in different departments so I got to understand what their day-to-day was like.”

Aadi Mhatre

Specialist, global vaccines technical operations

“It was really instrumental to me understanding what I wanted to do in my career and where I wanted to start,” says Aadi.

It was Aadi’s positive mentoring experience that led him to join the Next Gen Network, a generationally inclusive employee business resource group (EBRG) with a mission to utilize generational insights to connect and shape our company’s future for all.

“In addition to their day role, it really allows talent to spread their wings and fly,” says Leah Bogardus, global co-lead, Next Gen Network EBRG. “It gives them breadth of knowledge about our company and what’s happening in all of our divisions. It also provides opportunities to develop skills outside of their functional day role.”

Braden Gourley, global co-lead, Next Gen Network EBRG, says their business group also helps young minds connect with leadership teams from around our organization—exposure that’s not always easy to obtain.

“We’re getting emails all the time from vice presidents asking if we can come talk to their leadership teams and how we can work with them to integrate our thoughts into their strategy,” Braden says.

Priorities for recent grads

According to research, millennials and Gen Z professionals are looking for employers that provide growth opportunities, good work-life balance and competitive compensation.

Frank DeVecchis, director of global talent acquisition, believes our company’s interactive approach speaks to today’s graduates.

“Our managers engage interns, co-ops, and early career full-time hires directly in the day-to-day. That degree of engagement is rare, and it gets carried back to campus, inspiring the next class to consider an opportunity with us,” says Frank. 

Where graduates want to be

Our company’s employee recruitment and retention efforts have not gone unnoticed.

Merck has earned the top spot on Forbes’ 2021 list of ‘Best Employers for New Graduates.’

In the outlet’s annual ranking, more than 20,000 young professionals were polled to find out which companies were most liked by new workforce entrants.

“Today’s graduates are passionate about what they’ll do and how they’ll do it. Our mission speaks to them and so does our hands-on approach,” says Carl Segerstrom, senior vice president and chief talent officer. “These elements of our culture are brought to life by our university relations team, the Next Gen Network, and the managers who support early career talent. We are grateful for all they do.”

Recruiting young minds

While our company wasn’t able to connect with students on campus this past year due to the COVID-19 pandemic, we were able to pivot our strategy and engage young graduates through virtual events.

“We built many creative and engaging events that allowed us to get in front of students who would normally be less likely to engage with us at a large career fair.”

Phil Rathosky

Senior university relations specialist, global talent acquisition

“We also had the added bonus of providing executive leadership the opportunity to speak with students virtually – an opportunity that would likely not have happened in a solely onsite season given scheduling difficulties,” says Phil.

Phil, who was recently recognized with the National Association for Colleges & Employers’ Catalyst Award, says our company has also expanded our recruiting targets by working with more historically Black and Hispanic colleges and organizations that elevate underrepresented talent from hundreds of schools.

Benefits to our business

By combining the best of each generation’s practices, our company has fostered a community of employees primed to collaborate and share their ideas with people from all levels of work experience.

“At Merck, I think there’s a good forum to hear new ideas and that might not be the situation at other companies,” says Aadi. “There’s always someone who is willing to connect you to the right people to eventually see your plans take action.”