Most graduates would be happy to trade a higher salary for a better culture and social atmosphere at work, according to research from Accenture Strategy.
The 2016 UK University Graduate Employment Study found that almost eight out of 10 students (79%) graduating this year considered the job market before selecting their area of study.
When asked if they would be willing to trade a higher salary for a better culture and social atmosphere at work, 64% of the respondents said they would. The majority of graduates reported they were willing to complete an internship or work overtime during evenings or weekends (67% and 60%, respectively), and more than three-quarters (78%) were willing to relocate for a job.
Payal Vasudeva, managing director in Accenture Strategy, told HR magazine that graduates’ preference for culture over salary came as no surprise. “These graduates are passionate,” she said. “They are looking for an employer that not only provides a pay check, but fulfils their passions and challenges them, setting them up for continued professional growth and success. They are seeking an experience that offers meaningful work and ongoing learning opportunities. Culture is a large part of this."
She suggested that businesses could attract more graduates by allowing them to experience what the company stands for before they apply. “Give students early experience of your organisation,” she advised. “Providing opportunities for graduates to experience your organisation’s environment firsthand is an effective method for attracting recent graduates, because today’s graduates value early exposure to their potential employers through internships, apprenticeships and on-campus programmes. Work in collaboration with HR to convert those internships into employment for the best performers."
She added: “Also, businesses need to connect passion and purpose. They must display corporate social responsibility and connect employees’ work interest to the purpose of the organisation. Provide volunteering opportunities both as a means of helping the community and giving employees varied, meaningful work experiences that can create cohesion and commitment."