Designing to Recruit Top Talent for Higher Education

Did you know that the current national unemployment rate is 3.6 percent, with our region averaging only 2.5 percent? The last time it was this low was in December of 1969! With a multitude of available opportunities across the job market, a shift has occurred. Job candidates for collegiate positions are now in the power position of selecting their employer.

The natural question then arises: what should colleges be doing to stand out and attract top talent in such a competitive market? There is no cookie-cutter answer. Plenty of contributing factors exist. For example, your college’s culture and employee benefits are key drivers. But today we’ll be looking at an aspect of hiring that many overlook. The physical campus that potential employees will work at.

We believe that colleges should heavily consider designing spaces that remain consistent with their unique mission and facilitate the quickly evolving job of teaching on a college campus in order to recruit and retain top talent. Ready to learn more about what constitutes the types of college environments that attract high quality talent? Keep reading!

Designing for Job Satisfaction

We suggest that colleges look to design spaces that match their culture and are representative of the dynamic job that teaching represents. Which sounds nice, but what does this actually look like? Again, there’s no cookie cutter answer, but there are some general best practices.

If your goal is to design a college that educators actually want to teach at, you’ll be off on the right foot. So, what sort of things do they care about? “Cool” architecture is something that may come to mind – and it is a definite advantage. But “cool” can’t be the only consideration. Functional space is also a necessity. So where is the balance here?

Instead of using the conventional “chalk-and-talk” classroom design, consider whether or not your curriculum allows for a combination of: more secluded spaces for focus, collaborative spaces that promote creativity and allow impromptu sharing, or the latest cutting-edge technology to accommodate distance learning. We understand this isn’t always feasible, but these types of dynamic spaces are very attractive and definitely cause your campus to stand out.

A Good First Impression

The first experience a prospective employee – or anyone for that matter – has when walking in the door of one of your buildings on campus holds a lot of weight. Ask yourself what message your sending to people. Their first impression of your campus should be designed with the goal of helping everyone understand your college’s unique philosophies and beliefs. Although this doesn’t have to be explicit. For example, if your college’s mission includes wellness commitments, your architecture should allow for lots of natural light and fresh air. These types of environments are a strong impression for everyone who visits your campus and is an opportunity many colleges overlook.

What Does Your Design Say About You?

If you’re still a little unsure of whether or not your college is attractive to quality talent, we leave you with this question: If a prospective job candidate asked your current employees about their work environment, what would they say?