Graduates value flexible work and innovative office spaces over pay

Young workersThere’s been a lot of assumptions and predictions made about Millennials, and the upcoming generation of workers dubbed Gen Z. They’re alternately spoilt with a sense of entitlement or have a zeal for change and strong social conscience. So while there is a danger of stereotyping this diverse group, employers still need to work out the best way to attract and retain the most talented. Today’s graduates have enjoyed much higher quality university accommodation and facilities than previous generations, and the flexibility of the modern day campus is clearly influencing their work choices. Unlike the generation before them, recent graduates place double the importance on flexible work and work-life balance than they do on their earnings to chart their success. A Bright Network study of over 2,000 of the country’s top graduates also found that high priority was placed on a clear path for advancement over and above high earnings.

According to graduate recruitment expert Ben Rosen, CEO of Inspiring Interns: “While the baby-boomers were traditionally concerned with competitive salaries, along with the idea that your life is what you do outside of work, recent graduates have a stronger focus on development and working in innovative spaces,” he says.

He adds “more graduates than ever are spurning big business in favour of fast-growing and innovative work environments that offer a more respectful and dynamic work culture where their lifestyle and work-life are much more intertwined”.

Analysis on Inspiring Interns’ applications backs this trend, with creative industries receiving more than double the applications per vacancy compared to traditional sales roles.

Other highlights from the Bright Network study included:

  • 70 percent of undergraduates feel it is important to secure a graduate job before they finish university
  • Despite this, only 31 percent of 2016 graduates are actively applying for roles
  • 92 percent consider it important to gain work experience at university
  • The biggest obstacles to employment are noted as strong competition, lack of experience and a lack of networks or contacts
  • In their employers, graduates want a fast-moving and innovative employer providing them with professional training in a friendly, respectful environment.

The report, ‘What do Graduates Want?’ questioned 2,303 undergraduates about their future careers across a broad spectrum, including 66 percent state-school educated students, and 46 percent BAME students.

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