5 Things College Graduates Look for in Employers

By Kevin Nelson on 24-06-2018

Before you start looking for a job, you need to know what to expect from it. Here are 5 things college graduates look for in employers that could help you figure this out.

There’s a common belief that it’s extremely hard for college graduates to get a job - at least, a good one. It’s a myth that has been dispelled by Forbes a year ago: in fact, only one out of every 40 college graduates is unemployed. According to Forbes, this is half the unemployment rate of those with high school degrees and one-third the unemployment rate of those with no high school degree.

So if you are a recent or a future graduate looking for a job, here’s some good news for you - there definitely are people out there who would like to hire you. The question is what to focus on when applying for the jobs and going to the interviews.

Here are 5 things college graduates look for in employers. You might take some ideas from that list or might discard all of them because you have a clear vision already. Either way, it’s useful to know the stats.

1. Flexibility.

As the world becomes digital, people start taking advantage of that. The number of jobs that could be done remotely or on freelance also affects the situation, making the number of alternative options even bigger.

That’s why while office jobs are still in high demand and are considered more stable and beneficial by many, the potential employees start looking for more flexibility in them. The levels of that flexibility may vary: some just want flexible working hours, while some won’t settle for anything besides an opportunity to work remotely (even if from time to time). Nevertheless, it’s still a thing that’s present and that’s important to consider both by employers and by people who might want to have a flexible job but don’t think it’s possible.

2. Compensation.

Money is important, especially when the student debt is still an issue. In 2017 the average college student had $39,400 in student loan debt, six percent up from the previous year.

But while the debt needs to be repaid, money isn’t the only thing that is considered as compensation by college graduates. A decent salary is always a good thing but the former students also look for the opportunities to learn new skills and to build their knowledge base. This isn’t surprising as it would lead them to higher paying positions in the future.

3. Corporate culture.

If a job isn’t extremely flexible (which, let’s be honest, rarely happens), the employees will spend a lot of time there. Studies show that an average person spends 21% of their total waking hours at work (over a 76-year lifespan and assuming 8 hours a sleep at night). Looks impressive, doesn’t it?

Knowing that it’s understandable why college graduates consider the corporate culture as one of the most important factors when applying for a job. If you’re going to spend a fifth of your life at work, you’d better enjoy the company there, right?

Therefore, many young graduates can even pick work environment over the brand’s name or reputation.

4. Work-life balance.

A highly competitive workspace was a natural thing for years - and still remains like that in some companies. However, it turns out that today’s graduates don’t value that anymore. They treasure the opportunity to balance their careers and their personal lives. Furthermore, to many of them, this is more important than the career growth.

Therefore, while highly competitive corporate environments still exist, many college graduates avoid working for such companies. Sacrificing personal life to climb up the corporate ladder as quickly as possible doesn’t look appealing to them.

5. Impact.

Today’s graduates don’t simply want to work - they want to make a difference with what they’re doing. There are plenty of unpleasant things that happen all over the world, leaving many people feeling helpless and frustrated. Therefore, they look for jobs that would allow them to make an impact. After all, even the small things count.

If a company emphasizes how exactly one can make a difference by working with them and clearly states the impact they make on society, economy, and environment, they are more likely to attract graduates.

Of course, every student is different. Some of them do find the things above more appealing, while some still prefer the traditional corporate values. However, it’s always important to learn about different points of view and different values to find out what suits best for you and maybe to get some insights about what you expect from your future work and your potential employer. Therefore, try to find some time to reflect and maybe even do some additional research to understand better what you want to focus on.

What do you personally look for in potential employers? Do you agree that the things mentioned above matter or do you have your own expectations and priorities that differ from them? Please share your thoughts in the comments below.

Author bio

Kevin is a professional educator and a private tutor with over 8 years of experience. He is also a content writer for and various blogs about higher education, entertainment, social media & blogging. During his off time, Kevin enjoys traveling and cooking. Feel free to connect with him on Twitter, Linkedin & Google+.


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