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  • Students Still See Opportunity for Growth as Most Important Job Characteristic

    August 17, 2016 | By NACE Staff

    Student Attitudes
    A supervisor works with an intern to help grow her job-related skills.

    Spotlight for Recruiting Professionals

    As has been true for several years, the single most important aspect that Class of 2016 job-seeking graduates who planned to enter the work force looked for in their first full-time job is the opportunity for personal growth, according to results of NACE’s Class of 2016 Student Survey.

    Eighty-seven percent of bachelor’s degree graduates rated the opportunity for personal growth as either “extremely important” or “very important.” (See Figure 1.)

    Other top preferences included friendly co-workers, a good benefits package, and job security. Students expressed the least interest in a casual work environment, a “green” company, a job located close to home, and a well-recognized company.

    NACE’s 2016 Student Survey was conducted February 16 – April 30, 2016; more than 23,000 students at colleges and universities nationwide took part, including 5,600 graduating seniors. The survey report will be available in September.

    Figure 1: Job/employer preferences

    Preference Extremely Important Very Important Somewhat Important Not Very Important Not at All Important
    Opportunity for personal growth 55.6% 31.8% 9.8% 1.6% 1.2%
    Friendly co-workers 41.8% 38.3% 16.4% 2.1% 1.5%
    Job security 41.1% 37.5% 17.1% 3.0% 1.3%
    Good benefits package 36.9% 38.4% 19.1% 3.9% 1.7%
    Ability to improve community 33.3% 32.5% 24.9% 6.8% 2.4%
    Recognition for good performance 27.4% 39.1% 26.3% 5.3% 1.9%
    Clearly defined assignments 24.5% 40.1% 26.6% 6.6% 2.2%
    Opportunity for creativity 26.8% 32.8% 27.2% 9.9% 3.3%
    Diversity conscious employer 25.8% 31.4% 27.3% 9.8% 5.7%
    High starting salary 19.0% 31.7% 37.0% 10.2% 2.1%
    Opportunity for rapid advancement 17.3% 30.9% 37.0% 11.6% 3.3%
    Located in a diverse/inclusive community 17.4% 27.1% 32.7% 15.2% 7.7%
    Well-recognized company 14.0% 26.8% 33.3% 18.0% 7.9%
    Casual atmosphere 10.9% 26.1% 40.8% 15.6% 6.6%
    Located close to home 16.6% 25.5% 29.1% 16.5% 12.3%
    “Green” company 9.5% 17.9% 37.2% 23.0% 12.4%
    Source: Class of 2016 Student Survey, National Association of Colleges and Employers