The study, based on a survey of more than 400 graduating students, found that 71 percent of respondents are concerned that a weakening economy will result in fewer jobs being available upon graduation. Nearly three-quarters (73 percent) said that they have not yet found a post-graduation job. Nearly two-thirds (66 percent) said they will be graduating with student loans and 28 percent said they expect to live with parents or family after graduating.
Despite concerns about a challenging job market, just one-quarter (23 percent) of students said that they will compromise their job requirements. Among the most important benefits and characteristics respondents said they seek from an employer are:
- Compensation/salary (selected by 87 percent)
- Benefits such as health insurance (85 percent)
- Interesting and challenging work (68 percent)
- A social atmosphere and camaraderie with colleagues (53 percent)
- A supervisor who will mentor and coach them (52 percent)
- Flexible work hours (44 percent)
- The company’s reputation as an employer (34 percent)
- The opportunity to travel (29 percent)
"Generation Y is entering the workforce with strong values and demands that employers haven’t had to address with previous generations,” said David Smith, managing director of Accenture’s Talent & Organization Performance practice in North America. "To be relevant to these job seekers, employers must find ways to satisfy their needs for balance, fun, mentoring and opportunities to grow and be challenged."
Underscoring Generation Y’s desire to achieve their ideal work-life balance, the study found that almost half (46 percent) of graduating students said they expect to work fewer than 40 hours per week, 43 percent said they are concerned that they won’t be able to keep up with interests outside of work and 37 percent expressed concern that they will be overworked by their employers.
The study also found that fears of a weakening economy have led some students to be willing to adjust their job search criteria in a number of areas, including:
- Broadening their search by industry or skill area (selected by 40 percent)
- Looking for a job in a different city (39 percent)
- Accepting a lower salary (30 percent)
- Commuting farther (26 percent)
- Accepting the first job offer (15 percent)
- Looking for a job in a different country (9 percent)
About the Study
In March 2008, Accenture conducted an online survey of 406 students graduating from colleges in the United States in 2008. The survey was part of a global Accenture study of 2,464 students in eight countries who are graduating from college this year. The global survey was conducted between March 10 and March 28, 2008 and included students in the United States, the United Kingdom, France, Germany, Brazil, Russia, India and China.
Accenture is a global management consulting, technology services and outsourcing company. Combining unparalleled experience, comprehensive capabilities across all industries and business functions, and extensive research on the world’s most successful companies, Accenture collaborates with clients to help them become high-performance businesses and governments. With 178,000 people in 49 countries, the company generated net revenues of US$19.70 billion for the fiscal year ended Aug. 31, 2007. Its home page is www.accenture.com.