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  • The Employer/Job Preferences of Class of 2015 STEM Students

    February 24, 2016 | By NACE Staff

    Student Attitudes
    Two engineering students work on a machine.

    TAGS: STEM, student attitudes, spotlight

    Spotlight for Recruiting Professionals

    What characteristics do STEM graduates most desire in the employers they want to work for and the positions they seek? The most resonant characteristics among all STEM majors were opportunities for personal growth, job security, a good benefits package, and friendly co-workers, according to results of NACE's upcoming report Students in Demand: An Insight Into Class of 2015 STEM Graduates.

    Figure 1 shows the percentage of Class of 2015 STEM graduates planning to enter the work force who rated each of 15 employer and job characteristics as either a four ("very important") or a five ("extremely important") using a five-point scale.

    The results of the STEM students were consistent with the preferences among members of the Class of 2015 overall.

    Other somewhat popular preferences for all STEM majors included clearly defined assignments—which was particularly important to biology and mathematics majors—and recognition for good performance—which was particular important to physical science majors.

    However, by major, STEM students' employer/job preferences were varied in three areas:

    • While the ability to improve their community was of moderate to little importance to most STEM majors, biology majors actually placed it among their top preferences.
    • A high starting salary was more important to computer science, engineering, and engineering technology majors than it was to biology, mathematics, and physical science majors.
    • Although certainly a minor preference among all STEM majors, having a job located close to where they lived was of greater importance to biology, mathematics, and physical science majors than to computer science, engineering, and engineering technology majors.

    Students in Demand: An Insight Into Class of 2015 STEM Graduates will be available later this winter.

    Figure 1: Employer/job preferences of Class of 2015 STEM graduates

      Comp. Sci. Eng. Eng. Tech. Math/
    Stats
    Biology Phys.
    Sci.
    % of respondents
    Opportunity for personal growth 91.8% 92.0% 94.1% 88.0% 91.5% 87.3%
    Friendly co-workers 86.0% 84.3% 88.2% 88.0% 78.8% 77.4%
    Job security 85.0% 84.8% 82.0% 81.3% 87.8% 79.0%
    Good benefits package 79.1% 78.5% 80.4% 73.3% 75.0% 66.1%
    Recognition for good performance 78.8% 75.9% 76.5% 62.7% 70.1% 67.2%
    Clearly defined assignments 70.3% 68.5% 74.5% 74.7% 79.1% 62.9%
    Ability to improve my community 48.2% 57.6% 51.0% 58.7% 75.0% 62.9%
    High starting salary 60.6% 60.1% 64.7% 48.0% 45.5% 54.8%
    Diversity 52.6% 47.4% 51.0% 53.3% 58.8% 50.8%
    Opportunity for rapid advancement 56.1% 62.3% 52.0% 45.3% 54.5% 43.5%
    Opportunity for creativity 56.5% 50.1% 49.0% 46.7% 53.8% 44.4%
    Casual atmosphere 51.7% 46.0% 41.2% 44.0% 43.0% 41.9%
    Located close to my home 39.4% 34.9% 31.4% 53.3% 48.9% 45.2%
    Located in a diverse/tolerant community 45.3% 39.6% 35.3% 41.3% 48.4% 32.3%
    Well-recognized name 32.7% 42.7% 48.0% 29.7% 35.5% 41.0%
    "Green" company 22.8% 28.6% 34.0% 13.3% 39.9% 39.3%
    Source: Students in Demand: An Insight Into Class of 2015 STEM Graduates, National Association of Colleges and Employers