What Are Young People Looking for in a Job?
Survey sheds light on preferences of new college grads
What matters most to job-seeking college grads? According to a recent study by the National Association of Colleges and Employers (NACE), when students are considering a job, their top three concerns are the nature of the work, compensation, and coworkers. When actually weighing a job offer, their focus shifts to opportunities for growth and job security, followed by friendly coworkers.
What benefits are most important? The survey found that annual salary increases are the most preferred benefit among new college graduates, followed by a 401(k) match, tuition reimbursement, and healthcare benefits.
Historically, graduating seniors taking part in NACE’s annual student survey have placed medical insurance in the top spot. NACE Executive Director Marilyn Mackes believes that the most likely explanation for the change are modifications to federal healthcare-related laws resulting from the Affordable Care Act.
“Graduates know that they can now stay on their parents’ coverage until they are 26 years old, making medical benefits somewhat less critical”_,” she says.
Despite the change in order, the top five benefits have remained largely the same over the past several years.
“The focus is: and has been: on benefits that provide security,” says Mackes. “Salary increases, the 401(k) match, and various insurances provide a financial net, while tuition reimbursement supports the graduate’s ability to acquire new skills and gain or retain value in the job market.”
Use of Social Media
The NACE survey also found that new grads use social media in a variety of ways when conducting a job search. Slightly more than a quarter (26%) say they use it to network, an equal number report using it to research employers, and 19% use it to discuss job openings. Somewhat surprisingly, however, 54.5% say they don’t use social media at all in their job search.
Each year, NACE surveys college students on issues related to careers, employment, and job search. NACE’s 2012 Student Survey was conducted mid-February through April 30, 2012. More than 59,000 college students nationwide, including 15,715 seniors at the bachelor’s degree level, took part in the survey.
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