Compensation still top consideration for graduates' first jobs: report

But they are willing to 'trade' flexibility for higher pay

Compensation still top consideration for graduates' first jobs: report

Getting high future earnings is still top of students' wish list for their future employers in 2023, though the demand for work-life balance continues to gain ground.

These are the findings of Universum's latest report on what makes employers attractive, which surveyed 172,890 business, engineering, and IT students from nine economies.

It found that "high future earnings" remained on top of the ideal preferences of business, engineering, and IT students surveyed. Competitive base salary is also high on the list, placing within the top four preferences of business (4), engineering (3), and IT students (2).

"Due to slightly weaker hiring signals, plus the persistent pressure of inflation, students are strongly focused on compensation in 2023," the report said.

Flexible work also a strong factor

Meanwhile, demand for flexibility at work is also growing among students, especially for women.

Flexible working conditions logged the highest increase (2.6%) in the list of attributes that women want from their future employer, while it posted the fifth-highest increase for men (1.6%).

Even students entering traditional industries like engineering said they value flexibility at work, as it placed 15th on the list of preferences they want from employers, according to the report.

These preferences on compensation and flexible work led Universum CEO Yusuf Azoz to say that employer-employee relationship will likely remain "contentious" in the coming year.

"Typically in a weaker economy, an employer can roll back expensive benefits - be it higher pay or greater flexibility - but the current economic climate is dramatically different," he said in the report.

"Higher inflation means it's hard for employers to slow pay increases, plus flexibility is no longer a benefit but a baseline expectation. In other words, the employer-employee relationship is likely to remain contentious in 2024."

Trade-offs possible

The report, however, discovered that students would be willing to give up some of their "ideal" demands such as flexibility when confronted with real-world choices.

"Quality of life factors like flexible working and work-life balance are both priorities for young people, but students are willing to 'trade' these for other factors such as higher pay or good references," said Universum Global Account Director Richard Mosley in a statement.

Encouraging work-life balance is ninth on the list of attributes that students want from their employers in an ideal world. However, it dropped to 25th place when the rankings revealed students' real-life priorities, according to the findings.

The report, however, warned employers that this gap does not mean they can neglect students' demands on work-life balance.

"Even if young people are willing to 'trade' things like flexible work for higher compensation or job security, their satisfaction and loyalty will likely suffer if these trade-ffs persist," the report said.

Recent articles & video

Tesla to lay off more than 10% of global workforce: report

Remote work to blame for Nike's innovation slowdown, says CEO

McKinsey & Co. to lay off over 300 employees: reports

Only 24% of employers globally have achieved full gender equality: report

Most Read Articles

Over 600 Apple employees facing layoffs: reports

McKinsey & Co. to lay off over 300 employees: reports

Employees want commute expenses covered in exchange for office return