What Graduates Look For In Employment

August 2, 2018
by Melissa Porter
What gradates are looking for in employment. Student teamwork.

Times are changing in recruitment as more and more individuals no longer see a job as “just a job”. These days, an increasing number of graduates see a job as a way of life, something you do for a living and not just somewhere you go.

Tuition fees are the highest they have ever been, and employees are working far later into their lifetimes than ever before, so for many, the dream of working for 30 odd years and then enjoying retirement are long gone.

With the majority of graduates left with crippling student debt and rising house prices, it’s easy to mistake that graduates would be desperate for any job, but in reality, they are showing an incredible confidence in what they want in a career.

Gone are the days when graduates and school-leavers will apply for just “any job” for the experience. These days, the younger generation are taking far more into account than “just the job” and the salary, and have certain expectations for their prospective employers.

So just what are the top 3 things graduates are looking for in a job?

Flexibility first

In a recent post, we found that flexible working is the key to productivity, and that’s exactly what graduates are looking for. According to a post by Undercover Recruiter, 70% of people stated that flexible working would make a job listing more attractive, and a further 65% of employees who do receive flexible working report being more satisfied with their roles.

The younger generation are encouraged by the importance of self-care, influencers who can travel the world while working, and value new experiences and adventures. Offering flexible working is a great way to help with the likes of health appointments and home deliveries, as this generation values their paid time off to really enjoy the things that matter to them.

A path to progression

A survey of 1,200 graduates by OnRec revealed that 33% of graduates listed career progression as being the most important to them. They want to know where their career can lead them, how much money they can make, and how quickly they can achieve it.

This is why many graduates will look for 1-2-1 development plans or the offer of certified training in a new role. They will also want to know what the criteria is to progress and a realistic timeline in which this can be achieved so they can set goals.

Culture and work environment

The younger generation are more aware of the effects of mental health and well-being when it comes to working, which is why a good office culture and a great working environment plays another important factor when looking for a job.

Relationships between management and staff are taken into consideration – whether there is a “them and us” divide – as well as the design of the office, break spaces, and furniture, all of which can contribute to a worker’s mood and motivation.

Graduates look for mentors, not managers, who can coach them to achieve their goals, and will be more likely to pick a work environment that can stimulate and motivate them, over a dreary and outdated work space.

Biggest concerns

Aside from knowing what they want from a career, graduates also have their fair share of concerns. The survey by OnRec found that the biggest concerns were:

  • 33% worry about not having a rewarding job
  • 29% struggled with work life balance
  • 25% unable to afford the things they like
  • 7% wanted to fit family around career


In summary, if you want to attract top talent from the younger generation, their expectations of a career goes way beyond a simple job description. No longer is a job and a salary enough to be rewarding. Graduates are factoring in work/life balance, the affects the workplace can have on mental health, and where the role can lead them to in the future.

If you’re looking to hire graduates for your role, take note and make sure your company can stand out.

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