Employers, beware: You may be cutting yourself off from the best, fresh talent. 

This year's crop of new graduates is more confident, prepared, focused, and loyal than ever before, according to a recent study from Accenture. The global consultancy firm surveyed more 1,000 U.S. college students graduating in 2015, as well as more than 1,000 students who graduated in 2013 and 2014.

A staggering 80 percent of 2015 graduates believe that their education prepared them well for a career, with studies in STEM (science, technology, engineering, and math) being among the most popular majors. What's more, nearly three quarters of students expect to stick with their first job out of school for at least three years. 

Even so, it appears that Gen Y's expectations are not aligning with their reality at work: Nearly half of previous graduates say that they're currently underemployed, with 41 percent making less than $25,000 annually. That's largely due to the fact that employers aren't prioritizing entry level jobs, according to Accenture.  

Significantly, the study also found that graduates prefer to work for smaller companies: 10 percent of this year's graduates plan to work for a startup, and 6 percent expect to go into business for themselves. That's a 1 percent decline in both categories from a year ago. 

Here are three tips for capitalizing (better) on this year's newest workers:  

1. Promote a positive culture.

Gen Y places significant emphasis on a positive work environment: 60 percent of 2015 respondents even say that they would settle for a lower salary if they could be guaranteed a "good social atmosphere."

Consider that implementing happy hours, wellness regimes, and team-building exercises may help you to attract (and retain) more talent. 

2. Prioritize your internship program. 

It's increasingly important for employers to engage their future hires early on. In fact, 72 percent of this year's graduates have already been through summer internships, apprenticeships, or co-ops (joint programs between the college, selected employer, and student). Not only are these programs helpful in preparing Gen Y for the workforce--they're also an opportunity for you to sell yourself to them.

3. Let them know you're socially conscious. 

Perhaps surprisingly, the two most popular job sectors for new graduates are education and health care--indicating that Gen Y is more socially conscious than ever before. If you want to reel them in, show them that your company is also committed to giving back.  

For more information, check out the infographic below. 

Published on: May 12, 2015