According to Ernst & Young, graduates rank training and development over salary when selecting their first employer.
The online poll, which registered well over 1,000 votes, shows that nearly half (44%) of graduates view a company’s provision of training and development as the most important consideration when weighing up a potential employer.
Other options for the students to vote on were salary and benefits (18%), work/ life balance (16%), business reputation (12%), people & culture (8%), and ethical and environmental reputation (3%).
Stephen Isherwood, head of graduate recruitment at Ernst & Young, said: “Despite the many concerns students have when thinking about their future employer, it is still critically important for many of them that their new job offers them opportunities to learn, and to develop their own careers.”
With salary and benefits, and work/life balance in second and third place respectively, Isherwood said: “Students perceive work/life balance in a different way to that of experienced hires who may have young families and other commitments.
“Travel, secondments, variety of projects and a flexible approach to work are all vital to graduates searching for that all important first job. Often these are as important as the desire for that first pay cheque.”
Richard Wells, principal consultant at RTS consultants, said: “The desire among bright graduates is to enter an industry which is geared up to provide them with a career path.
"Historically, the UK dealer network management does not come from a graduate background, so the challenge is getting that mindset to change. “Dealers need to put a structured two to three year career plan in place, which doesn’t have graduates in the same role and gives them a chance to develop and expand their knowledge. There’s still a long way for dealers to go before plans like this are put in place.”