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Graduates consistently choose job satisfaction over high pay

Jaymes Carr

GradAustralia's Top 100 survey of university students reveals insights into student perceptions about job satisfaction and salary.

You might expect that after years of study, often on a low student income, graduates would be uncompromising when it comes to securing a competitive salary. However, the results of the 2019 GradAustralia Top 100 Graduate Employer report show that, while salary expectations are high, a majority of students still prioritise fulfilment and a positive company reputation over the guarantee of a large salary package.

According to the GradAustralia survey, 74 per cent of students and graduates agree with the statement: ‘it’s more important for me to feel fulfilled at work than to earn lots of money.’ Only 9 per cent disagree with the statement, with 17 per cent undecided.

Similarly, it’s clear that students and graduates take into account the industry reputation of prospective employers. Fifty-nine   disagree with the statement: ‘if the salary was right, I would work for a company with a bad image.’ Sixteen per cent are willing to compromise, while 25 per cent are undecided.

Salaries notwithstanding, a majority of graduates across all disciplines state that the diversity of their future employers will have an effect on their decision to accept a job offer. Seventy-nine per cent agree with the statement ‘it’s important for me to join an employer that has a diverse workforce,’ with only four per cent disagreeing.

‘Given what we’ve learned from past students now employed by major Australian organisations, these results don’t come as much of a surprise,’ says Geoff Adams, co-founder of GradAustralia. ‘Over the past ten years, we’ve seen a strong shift in graduate priorities, with more and more job-seekers pursuing employment at companies that promise not only to pay them well but also to offer the advantages of a strong public image and a diverse workforce.’

The definitive list of the Top 100 Graduate Employers can be found on the GradAustralia website, and 50,000 copies were distributed at career fairs throughout Australia in March. The Top 100 Guide includes 400 pages of comprehensive employer profiles, sector information, insider tips on how to get hired as well as real-life stories from graduates on the job.

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