Salary and benefits had been rated the most important factor by graduates every year since 2007. Last year it ranked jointly as top priority with training and development. This year salary dropped to fifth place (11%), while training and development stayed at the top (34%).
EY head of student recruitment Julie Stanbridge said that rather than “focusing on the quick win”, graduates are making “longer-term decisions about what their first job will bring to their career prospects”.
She added: “It’s no surprise that training and development once again remains top, but there is now more debate around what quality personal development looks like for new entrants to the workplace.
“We are seeing moves away from structured classroom-based seminars and Powerpoint slides to on-the-job learning in dynamic teams, and through working collaboratively on projects.”
The graduates surveyed by EY also ranked people and culture, and a good work-life balance as important to their decision-making (21% and 13% respectively).
Stanbridge said: “Today’s graduates are looking for job satisfaction at inspiring and progressive workplaces, with initiatives such as flexible working being seen as ‘business as normal’ and something to be expected, rather than a perk.”