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Graduates are more interested in career opportunities than money, according to Graduate Prospects research

Graduates are more attracted to jobs that are interesting or offer good training or career progression opportunities rather than those that are well-paid, new research finds.

The Real Prospects research, from Graduate Prospects, surveyed more than 14,000 employed graduates earlier this year and found 55% were satisfied with their pay and benefits, the median salary being £22,000. But while they expected to be adequately rewarded for their work, they did not consider salary to be the most important feature of their job.

Real Prospects 2010 found almost one in five graduates were attracted to their employer because the job sounded interesting (19%), while 16% looked for leading organisations or those that offered good opportunities for progression.

Location played a large role for 13% of respondents and companies that were known to be good employers or offer good training opportunities appealed to 7%. Salary was a draw for a mere 6% of graduates. 

In terms of additional benefits, graduates favoured pension contributions (76%), study leave/support (66%) and assistance with travel costs (65%) above overtime pay (51%) and subsidised healthcare (39%). Least desirable was use of a company car (12%).

But the survey also revealed 57% considered leaving their job within the year, mainly due to work-life balance dissatisfaction, 47% were expected to work in excess of their contracted hours, and 59% were looking for flexi-time or time off in lieu (54%).

Most respondents (81%) were satisfied with the company introduction, but 57% felt the induction to HR procedures was inadequate. And 90% felt opportunities to progress within the company were important, but 53% felt satisfied that they could progress.

Mike Hill, chief executive of Graduate Prospects, said: "It's refreshing to hear that graduates aren't just seeking hard cash as a reward for putting in the hours, but are more likely to be stimulated by interesting roles that offer room for growth."