Young graduates: What factors do they consider when choosing their first job?
Published on 2023.06.29
Motivated and in search of valuable experiences, young graduates also enter the job market with specific expectations. They are determined not to settle for the first job offer that comes their way. They have a range of choices and meticulously evaluate the companies they consider for launching their careers. What are the criteria they prioritize? How can companies attract them? This article explores the insights from Rayan, Victor, and Emma, all of whom are prospective graduates of emlyon business school.
A quest for ethics and purpose
"What do I consider before accepting a job offer? Ethics, diverse responsibilities, and mobility," immediately responds Rayan, a third-year student in the Program Grande Ecole (PGE) at emlyon business school. Even though he is not yet in the job market, Rayan has gained significant professional experience through internships, which has allowed him to refine his selection criteria over the years. It all begins during the application phase for him. He doesn't send out his CV without conducting thorough research beforehand. Using online resources and through word-of-mouth, he ensures that the chosen organization aligns with his values. "I gather information about the company culture and employee well-being. I also reach out to current employees for insights. If the feedback is positive, I proceed with my application," he explains.
The same observations apply to Victor, also a student in the PGE program. He will be completing his studies this summer. "First and foremost, I ensure that the tasks for the job will allow me to continue learning. I also pay attention to the company's reputation. I prefer larger corporations that offer a strong networking opportunity. Lastly, I strive for a good work-life balance," he explains. Victor also takes the time to connect with emlyon business school alumni who have knowledge or work experience at the companies he is interested in. "An environmental and/or social scandal could be a deal-breaker," he adds.
Others are less concerned about the company's size and focus more on onboarding and the overall work atmosphere. This is the case for Emma, who places particular importance on recruitment interviews and, ultimately, the work environment. "I need to feel valued and appreciated. I want to sense genuine interest in my profile. If I feel like just another applicant among many, I don't pursue it," explains the future emlyon graduate who is already employed. In fact, she has been working for the past 9 months as a junior HR consultant in a consulting firm. She was drawn to the team dynamics, management style, and the autonomy she has in organizing her working hours.
Status and compensation remain major concerns
While considerations such as purpose, personal fulfillment, job responsibilities, and work-life balance are important, salary remains a primary factor. "It's important. We have invested in our education, including financially, so we are looking for a comfortable salary," Victor summarizes. Rayan agrees with a smile, saying, "It's obvious, everyone takes salary into account." In fact, 38% of young graduates from emlyon business school's Program Grande Ecole* choose to pursue careers in the audit and consulting sector, which offers attractive compensation packages.
Job status is also a criterion to consider. Victor, for example, prefers permanent contracts (CDI). "Having a permanent contract is important to me. Job searching is time-consuming, requires significant effort, and can be stressful. I value the stability it provides," he explains. Furthermore, over 90% of emlyon business school graduates begin their professional careers with a permanent contract*.
On the other hand, Rayan is open to various opportunities. "Whether it's a permanent contract, fixed-term contract, or freelancing, it doesn't matter. Although I lean more towards traditional employment, I am not afraid of uncertainty, and I believe all formats have their value," he shares. His "maker" mindset led him to accept an end-of-studies internship at Google, where he can dedicate 20% of his time to a side project that he is passionate about. "It's an essential aspect for me. It brings purpose to my job and allows me to have an impact through my professional activities," emphasizes Rayan.
Connecting with students: engaging in school settings
Being identified by these young talents - and perceived as attractive - is a significant challenge for companies.. "Clear job offers and high-quality working conditions can make a difference," points out Rayan. However, to truly distinguish themselves, there is no better approach than connecting with these talents while they are still in school. At emlyon business school, almost half of the students find their first job through the school, either through events organized in collaboration with companies, participation in pedagogical projects, or leveraging existing relationships between the school and businesses.
For instance, emlyon business school has a job board called Jobteaser where companies can post their job advertisements. The school also holds the Careers Forum every year, a major recruitment event, bringing together 1,700 students and 160 companies on its campus. "I participate in it every year," confirms Victor. "It's thanks to this event that I found my internships. We get to meet the teams, feel the energy, and appreciate that they make the effort to come and engage with us." In fact, the recent graduate just secured his first permanent contract through the Career Track, another initiative implemented by emlyon business school, which allows students to specialize in a specific field (such as strategy consulting or investment banking) and prepares them to secure highly valuable internships or their first job.
Source* : emlyon business school Employability Study - 2022 -