What do Graduates Look for in an Employer? | Universum Global Skip to main content

What do Graduates Look for in an Employer?

By Universum on 01/05/2017

That amazing time of year is finally upon us – graduation. Every year, hundreds if not thousands of hopeful students walk across the stage and dream of creating a fantastic career for themselves. They’ve studied, processed and passed all the tests. Long story short, they’re ready! Are you ready for them? 

As new graduates enter the workforce a great competition between companies to get the newest and best talent emerges. It’s important to be ready to fight for those new hires. However, do you really have what it takes to attract them in the first place? These days, graduates are looking for specific things within a company, and if you don’t meet those requirements you’ll be passed up for a better opportunity.

Tweet This: See the @UniversumGlobal Talent Survey Results to find out what college grad employees really want in employers: 

Recently, we released the results of our annual talent survey with a sample size of 81,102 U.S. students. Here’s what graduates are really looking for:

Fitting The Culture

Survey results uncovered that most students favor small business over bigger companies. Why is that? It turns out that a major fear in joining an organization revolves around whether they will be able to fit in with company culture. This also involved areas such as supportive leadership, diversity, friendliness, respect and creativity.

“Student’s biggest fear is to ‘not fit into’ the culture and way of working. They see their possibilities to influence as bigger in smaller and medium-sized companies,” said Jonna Sjövall (@SjovallJ), Senior Vice President of Talent Strategy and Employer Branding at Universum.

Tweet This: .@SjovallJ from @UniversumGlobal said student’s biggest fear is to ‘not fit into’ the culture or way of working:

So, how do you assure graduates feel welcome in your culture? Be proactive. Display company events, fundraisers and anything that makes you unique on your website and social media. That way these new job seekers can understand what you are like as an organization. This will even allow candidates to self-select in or out of applying to join your company.

Work-Life Balance

Results from the survey were segmented into groups of students based on professions in business, computer science and engineering. Graduate’s highest listed value is work-life balance. In fact, it easily ranked number one with 61%, 59% and 58% respectively in favor of the attribute. Along with this, brings an overall understanding of the job characteristic. Graduates want to know what they are getting themselves into.
Allow for work flexibility and variety in the tasks and projects you assign as well as providing any necessary training. However, that doesn’t mean to make assignments easy. Graduates want a challenge! They work to push themselves in their knowledge and processes, so give them the opportunity to prove themselves.

Advancement Opportunities

As stated above, new graduates want the opportunity to challenge themselves. This not only means taking on bigger tasks, but also more responsibility which gives them the ability to grow and develop within the company. The last thing they want is to be stuck in the same role for a year, or even a few months. To tie in with being flexible, allow them to try new things every so often. This provides just the growth and variety they are craving and even forms a more productive workplace.
After a few months of working and becoming familiar with their responsibilities, graduates may start wondering where this path will take them. Make advancement opportunities abundantly clear. Understand their goals as well as the goals of the company and see how they fit into the puzzle.

Dedication to a Greater Cause

Philanthropy and corporate social responsibility are a growing trend with today’s workers, and new graduates are no exception.

“…inspiring and purposeful organizations will be able to attract top talent. It is not only about the paycheck, but about a possibility to be part of something bigger than themselves.” said Sjövall (@SjovallJ)

If you think this is just about donation or volunteering, think again. Innovation, ethics and inspiration all fall under the umbrella, and are all equally important. Consider the ways your company and work can serve the community or industry. Our survey found that 45% of engineering students wanted to be working for a greater cause. Be sure to showcase the efforts your company makes to effect positive change. That way, graduates know how you work to make the world, community and industry a little better.
New graduates are soon to be flooding the workforce. As a growing and successful company, it’s your job to do what you can to attract them and harness their raw talent. Don’t be afraid to put yourself out there and let graduates know how you operate. After all, that’s what they want!
For more information about what new grads are looking for in companies and employers take a look at the rest of our survey findings.

Could your employer brand strategy use a boost? Use this checklist to find out: 

employer brand strategy