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It’s not (all) about the money: what graduates want from a graduate job

“Graduates want more from life – we know we’re going to live ‘til we’re 100, have five different careers in our lifetimes, so we want to enjoy ourselves.”

The summer months always see an influx of enthusiastic graduates, fresh from universities and business schools across the UK; looking to establish their career path and land their ideal first job. A recent Glassdoor survey indicates that top graduate roles, primarily in investment banking and technology, are carrying astonishing entry-level starting salaries of up to £50K per annum in the UK. But is a competitive salary enough to attract the right candidates?

Interestingly, the report from Glassdoor also conveyed that to retain new talent, businesses must offer graduates more than just a comfortable salary. Indeed, the research found two-thirds of millennials value corporate culture above salary when assessing job satisfaction.

Wote Street People, a recruitment agency in Basingstoke, is fortunate to have a good relationship with the University of Winchester Business School. The business school has a large number of graduates coming onto the job market each year, many of them looking for opportunities to work with local companies. In order to help employers attract graduates, they decided to conduct some research into the key factors graduates look for in a graduate job. Interviews were conducted with recent graduates and industry associates by Dr Karen Blakeley, Programme Leader of the BA Business Management Degree at Winchester.

What graduates want

Overall, Winchester Business School’s interview research revealed that although the starting salary is important to graduates’, there are numerous other factors determining whether a graduate will take a role within a business, these include:

  • further training and development funded by your employer
  • variety and exposure to different areas of the business so you can determine what type of work best suits you and you don’t get ‘stuck’ in the wrong role or specialist area
  • being given genuine responsibility, but still positioned within an experienced team so you have enough support and guidance
  • employee reviews – searching sites such as Glassdoor to see what employees, past and present say about the business
  • fitting in well with the culture of the business and the people you will work with
  • work-life balance – for example finishing early on Fridays, free food and drink, games and other facilities to enable you to socialise with colleagues, opportunity to travel abroad as part of your role

The research showed that career progression opportunities had mixed results.  Whilst some graduates cited the importance of being able to climb the career ladder at their chosen organisation, other graduates didn’t see career prospects as a deciding factor for an entry-level role, indicating that they didn’t view the first company they worked at as a place they would stay longer-term.

As recruiters in Basingstoke, the Wote Street People team meet many university leavers at this time of year looking for graduate jobs – as well as companies eager to employ graduates.

“It’s important that employers recognise the importance of offering more than just a job and a salary to all employees, including graduates. Industry research continues to show us that today people looking for jobs have additional wants and needs; to attract and retain the best candidates your senior management must be willing to allow HR to change their approach to employment and managing people.

“Failure to move with the times will mean that the best employees may choose to work with your competitors and that could have a long-term negative impact on the success of your business and its value,” says Maxine Hart, Operations Director at Wote Street People.

Maxine continues: “During an interview process, candidates will be assessing you and your company too.  They’ll want to understand that your business is a good fit for them, so ensure you address the factors highlighted in Winchester Business School’s research.”

At Wote Street People, we pride ourselves on offering an exemplary service to both candidates and customers.  By taking the time to listen to each party, we identify the perfect match.

Need help attracting the right staff?

Maxine welcomes contact from local businesses who are currently struggling to recruit and retain staff.  She can provide expert advice and guidance as to where obstacles may lie and how your business could resolve challenges.

Need help landing a graduate job in Basingstoke?

If you’re searching for a graduate role in Basingstoke, give our friendly team a call on 01256 799127 and arrange a time to meet us. We’re all ears throughout the entire recruitment process and will take the time to listen to your needs – also check out our career advice section for top tips!

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