Students seek employers with vision and values: survey

Leading university students rank an organization’s values and vision for the future as top considerations when evaluating potential employers, finds a new survey from KPMG International.

Eighty-four percent of students surveyed said they would not work for a company with values that did not align with their own, while 92 percent said that in choosing their first employer, it is important that the organization has an exciting vision.

The KPMG Student Career Preferences Survey includes opinions of 4165 business and STEM (science, technology, engineering and mathematics) students studying at some of the world’s leading universities. The vast majority, 89 percent, said that when choosing a future employer it is important that the organization makes a positive difference in the world.

Competitive pay and benefits were ranked by students as one of the top criteria for a potential employer, however 79 percent said that working for an organization with a strong sense of purpose was more important than earning the highest salary possible.

Personal and career development are highly valued by the students surveyed. Having the opportunity for personal development and earning professional qualifications was a top ranked motivating factor for selecting an employer, identified by 47 percent.

Gaining experience that prepares them for bigger and better things, mastering a broad set of skills, and learning from great people were identified by students as priorities for their first 2 years of work.

Rachel Campbell, Global Head of People with KPMG International, said, “Our Student Career Preferences survey is very consistent with what we hear from our university hires. Values and purpose are major drivers of employment consideration and engagement. Students today expect flexible career paths - whether that means working in multiple countries or across different parts of an organization. They are seeking careers with meaning and purpose and they are prepared to go where the opportunities take them.”

Students surveyed expressed a global mindset, with 84 percent saying they would be prepared to move regularly to different countries for the right job.

Sixty-five percent expect to work in between 2 and 4 countries in their career, 27 percent anticipate working in more than 4 countries.

In terms of preferred professions, 43 percent of students surveyed expect to go into finance, with 27 percent looking to professional services, and 13 percent identifying the technology field.

Iain McLaughlin, Head of Global Resourcing, KPMG International said, “The survey reinforces that millennials are especially motivated to do work that benefits society and to be part of an organization that they feel is making a positive impact in the world. This is very much coupled with an ambition to learn, master skills and gain experience rapidly so that they can progress their careers.”

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