Employment Prospects Bright, University Graduates Report

Accenture Survey Finds That Majority of Graduates Are Confident Their Jobs Will Meet Expectations

NEW YORK; Aug. 11, 2004 – For recent university graduates, the jobs of their dreams seem to be within sight, according to results of a multinational survey released today by Accenture (NYSE: ACN).

According to the findings of the survey — which entailed querying 1,500 recent or soon-to-be college graduates in the United States, United Kingdom, France, Germany and Spain — almost two-thirds (60 percent) of respondents who are not working full-time reported that they expect to have a full-time position within the next six months, and only 16 percent said they expect the search to take more than one year.

Graduates in the United Kingdom and United States are the most optimistic, with 60 percent and 56 percent, respectively, believing that they will find a job in the next three months. Those in France are more pessimistic, with four out of 10 recent graduates there expecting their job searches to take at least a year. Overall, more than three-quarters (77 percent) are confident that their full-time jobs will meet their expectations.

Yet, few graduates see their university experience as having armed them with skills that are applicable in the “real world.” Less than one-quarter (23 percent) said they have people/communications skills to offer a potential employer, and 20 percent said they have the ability to produce high-quality work in a timely manner. The same percentage said they have a knowledge base in their field. Only 16 percent said they have computer and technical skills to offer an employer.

Most respondents seek opportunities to learn and grow, be paid fairly and avoid a rigid work environment. Topping the list of what they seek from their prospective employers are training programs (selected by 71 percent); fair compensation (61 percent); flexible hours (59 percent); and approachable, available management (55 percent).

“The university experience can provide graduates with basic skills and knowledge, but these young people generally lack workforce skills and expertise,” said Peter Cheese, managing partner of Accenture’s Human Performance practice. “Companies need to offer a variety of experiences and training in specific areas to develop recent graduates as professionals and future leaders. As experienced managers, increasingly, look to retirement, this need will become even more urgent.”

The survey findings also suggest that:

  • Principles and mentors figure prominently in specific countries.While almost half (48 percent) of all respondents reported that ethical management is an important factor in the job search, graduates in the United States, United Kingdom and France (at 69 percent, 61 percent and 60 percent, respectively) rated this higher than did their counterparts in Spain and Germany, where 38 percent and 20 percent of graduates, respectively, said that it is important. Mentorship programs are also more important to respondents from the United Kingdom and France — where approximately half (50 percent and 47 percent, respectively) of respondents said they wanted them — than they are to graduates in Germany, the United States and Spain (45 percent, 43 percent and 38 percent, respectively).

  • Entertainment will fill the hours. Two-thirds of respondents who are not working full-time said they plan either to go to the movies or read (66 percent and 64 percent, respectively) while they look for full-time employment. They cited a variety of other activities, including working part-time (58 percent), traveling (54 percent) and continuing their studies (52 percent). Only one-quarter (23 percent) said they plan to attend training workshops or classes.

  • Some industries are more appealing than others.When asked to select from a list of industries in which they would most like to work, respondents chose media & entertainment, health & life sciences and electronics & high tech more frequently than any others. Industries in which they would least like to work include metals & mining, retail and insurance.

The survey, fielded online in June 2004 by Lightspeed Research on behalf of Accenture, entailed 1,501 interviews with people 20 – 29 years of age in the United States, United Kingdom, France, Germany and Spain who have graduated college or university in the last six months or who expect to graduate in the next six months.

About Accenture
Accenture is a global management consulting, technology services and outsourcing company. Committed to delivering innovation, Accenture collaborates with its clients to help them become high-performance businesses and governments. With deep industry and business process expertise, broad global resources and a proven track record, Accenture can mobilize the right people, skills, and technologies to help clients improve their performance. With approximately 95,000 people in 48 countries, the company generated net revenues of US$11.8 billion for the fiscal year ended Aug. 31, 2003. Its home page is www.accenture.com.