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What Do Graduates Really Want From Their First Job?

The majority of recent graduates fall into one of two categories: Millennials or Generation Z.

Endless thought pieces have sought to solve the puzzle of what they really want but, on the whole, employers are left confused rather than enlightened.

However, TheBigChoice has cut through the noise and directly quizzed the source. In a recent study, the company asked university students what they wanted from their first job and what employers could do to get the most out of them. So, what do graduates really want?

Well, first, it’s worth knowing a little bit about them. As Campaign stated earlier in 2017, they are ambitious and engaged: “They are active rather than passive. They don’t dream of being Beyonce or feeding into the world of the Kardashian clan, they want to create, connect and make a positive impact in the world.”

According to TheBigChoice, here’s what these tenacious graduates crave:

·         57% cited career progression as a top priority

·         48% wanted opportunities to learn new skills and develop

·         42% desired a strong work/life balance

·         48% wanted to ensure that they were given access to learning & development opportunities

·         36% said an ethical workplace

·         21% sought flexible working

Significantly, while one third said they wanted a high salary, more than half stated job fulfilment was the most important factor. This correlates with other data that has centred on this demographic; increasingly, young people are choosing experiences over salaries and happiness over high-pressure, high-paid work. Which begs the question, if money is no longer as important, how do employers appeal to them? Stephen Divers, head of UK education and recruitment at TheBigChoice, offers some insight…

Give them autonomy and purpose

Everyone wants to feel that their work plays a part in the company’s success and today’s graduates are no different. Whether they are an intern or already rising through the graduate scheme’s ranks, they want to feel as though the work they do is valued.

Conversely, they resent unnecessary rules and restrictions, so micromanaging tactics tend to annoy more than they assist. Organisations should encourage their individuality, give them space to flourish and offer them responsibility.

Help them to improve

Given that the top two cited requests were for career progression and opportunities for improvement, employers should do just that. Offer courses, classes and provide a clear path for progression – after all, the more empowered and productive they are, the better your company will do.

Be kind

Graduates want to feel like their life, job and actions have meaning. They want the work they do to make the world better, not worse, and they want to protect the planet and all of its inhabitants. Graduates today are more educated than ever before and have unprecedented access to limitless information. They are aware and aiming to change the world: employers should hop on for the ride, rather than ignoring or fighting against it.

If you want to get access to our extensive database of top graduates, register your vacancies with GradLink for free today.

By David Gee Published: July 04, 2017

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