What Do College Students Look For in a Company?

Getting college students to work for your company requires a different touch and a different strategy. Today, Jennifer Rutt presents the results of an AfterCollege survey that seeks to answer what exactly college students look for when they go on the market.

At the time of the survey, Jennifer Rutt was AfterCollege’s senior director of engagement. She presents the following results of their 2014 Career Insights Survey.

Results of the 2014 AfterCollege Career Insights Survey, conducted among college students and recent graduates, reveal unique glimpses into the Millennial mind-set, including a growing sense of anxiety about the transition to the working world and whether college is actually preparing students for life beyond the classroom.

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Job Market Getting Tougher for College Graduates?

83% of graduating seniors said they didn’t have a job lined up as of April 2014, despite 72.7% reporting that they were actively looking for one. This is a jump from the 80% of graduating seniors who didn’t have a job lined up at the same time last year.

These numbers don’t vary significantly, even for more “marketable” majors—81.6% of engineering, technology, and math majors didn’t have jobs lined up, and business students didn’t fare much better with 85.1% saying they hadn’t lined up jobs either.

Students Need More Than Colleges Are Providing for Career Help

Only 52% of 2014 respondents believe college adequately prepares students for the working world. This is a significant drop since last year, when 69.4% of respondents believed college was preparing them for their careers.

When asked how their school could better help them prepare for the working world, students overwhelmingly asked for more networking opportunities and a focus on getting a job along with academics.

The Influence of Faculty 

Once again, faculty ranked 3rd, just behind parents and significant others, as having the strongest influence on career-related decisions.

This was echoed by the fact that 37% of respondents indicated that they would prefer to hear about career opportunities through faculty, advisors, or their department.

Caring about what the company does is a student’s primary consideration when choosing an employer.

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What a Working Millennial Wants

71.6% ranked “caring about what the company does” as their primary consideration when choosing an employer.

Students didn’t jump for popular perks like allowing pets in the office—only 28% indicated this would sway their decision.

Flexibility appears to be an employer’s greatest draw for new talent, with 78.4% of respondents saying they’d be more likely to apply for a position that afforded telecommuting privileges or other leeway with working hours.

The survey was conducted online through SurveyMonkey on behalf of AfterCollege among 1,494 college freshmen, sophomores, juniors, seniors, graduate students, and recent graduates (up to 3 years postgraduation) between February 27, 2014, and April 15, 2014.

Tomorrow we’ll look at another survey about what college graduates are looking for in a company, plus an introduction to a free white paper courtesy of SkillSurvey, Transform Reference Checking into a Strategic Asset: 5 Ways to Set Your Company Apart.