Global survey: What’s important for graduate job seekers

Flexible working arrangements that allow for a better work life balance are nearly as important as salary for young graduates on the job-hunt. This is the result of a global survey conducted by the CEMS Global Alliance of Business Schools.


What is important for young university graduates? It’s not only a good salary. Young job-seekers have high expectations looking for flexible working arrangements and a good work life balance at the same time. Other aspects that are important for them are the promise of rapid career progress and an opportunity to make an early impact.

This was the outcome of a survey by CEMS Global Alliance of Business School. The Alliance was founded more than 30 years ago as a pan-European organisation and now has member schools in South Korea, Canada, India, Singapore, Hong Kong, China, Chile, Japan, Brazil, Egypt, Australia and the United States.

For the survey more than 750 recent graduates in nearly 60 countries were interviewed. The result showed that about 75 per cent of respondents – with most of them still in their early twenties – expected that they would achieve an executive level role within ten years or less while 25 per cent thought they could reach this within five years.

When asked about the skills they felt would be necessary as technology developed in the workplace, the graduates ranked social skills such as persuasion, emotional intelligence and empathy as most important followed by people management skills including team leadership and motivation. These were ranked above hard skills including formal qualifications, data analysis and cognitive abilities such as creativity and mathematical reasoning.

In a press release the Chair of CEMS and Dean of the University of Sydney Business School, Professor Greg Whitwell, welcomed the survey results describing them as an “indication of the positive values held by today’s graduates”.

“While being highly motivated and ambitious, these young people also want to lead balanced, well rounded lives and, importantly, they want to make a positive impact on the lives of others,” Professor Whitwell said.