What are students expecting from their first job?

In the graduate recruitment space, understanding the student audience, and meeting their expectations both in terms of the salary and company benefits is essential to attract the most suitable candidates. At Trendence UK, we help employers optimise their recruitment campaigns, by providing insights into students’ expectations from their first job. Every year we survey thousands of students from more than 120 institutions, across all year groups, asking about their preferred employers, career areas, but also about their personal and professional expectations at their start of their career.

In 2017, for 90% of students, an employer demonstrating that they offer good career prospects is the most important factor to consider when choosing who to apply to. Equally influential is being given opportunities for personal and professional growth (88%). Thirdly, students are looking at the company’s culture. They want to know more about the work environment, the people they will be working with, but also how committed is the company to providing equal opportunities and promoting corporate social responsibility. 85% of our respondents choose an employer that demonstrates that they will be appreciated at work. At the bottom of their priority list is having a high starting salary (with 63% of students considering it an essential factor), and even fewer (60%) would choose an employer based on the status and prestige of the company.

Even though students say that the salary is not a decisive factor in their choice, when we asked them about their salary expectations, we discovered that their expectations have been increasing year on year. In 2016, the average expected salary was £24,500, going up to £25,305 in 2017. Salary expectations are, however, quite varied depending on the respondent’s sector of interest. Students planning to go into the media sector expect an average a salary of £21,865. At the opposite end, those planning to go into investment banking are expecting to earn over £28,000.

Employers are thus required to adopt an integrated approach towards recruiting students, finding the balance between showcasing their achievements as a company, and highlighting the benefits for students, both in terms of their personal and professional development. At Trendence UK, we provide a comprehensive analysis of how students perceive a company’s brand image, what they think about other similar organisations and how to optimise on-campus and digital campaigns to best meet their expectations.

For our 2018 Graduate survey we are expecting to collect our biggest ever sample! Want to know more about what students think about your brand and your year-on-year performance? Get in touch today! email@trendence.com