Stuart Gentle Publisher at Onrec

What Students Want From Their First Job [Graduate Recruitment]

Read’s guide to recruiting graduates and learn how to integrate them most effectively into your business.

If you’re looking to recruit graduates into your business, there is a high chance that your newest member of staff will sit within “Generation Z”. Technically speaking, this is the age group born between the mid 1990s until early 2000s – but who exactly are they and what exactly do they want from employers?

In a nutshell, Generation Z has been linked up to technology from the moment they were born. They’re “ambitious and engaged. They are active rather than passive. They don’t dream of being Beyonce or feeding into the world of the Kardashian clan, they want to create, connect and make a positive impact in the world”[1] (Campaign, 2017).

What do they want from employers? asked university students what aspects to their first job were most important to them. The top ranking answers all revolved around being ambitious and hard working:

  • 57% said career progression was important
  • More than half of respondents were striving for job fulfilment
  • 48% wanted to ensure that they were given access to learning & development opportunities

VIDEO DISCUSSION: Watch a video featuring six university students talking about what they want from their first employer.

This generation of workers are also more concerned with having a healthy, feel-good state of mind than a high salary:

  • 42% wanted a strong work/life balance
  • 38% of respondents wanted a fun work environment
  • 36% required that their first job be an ethical place to work
  • Less than third of respondents valued a high salary the most

Download the full infographic by clicking here.

How to get the most out of Generation Z in the workplace:

Stephen Divers, Head of UK Education & Recruitment at, explains how employers can translate these findings into the workplace when recruiting Generation Z:

1. Have two-way conversations

It might feel unconventional but give them a chance to contribute toward how your work environment runs. This is the generation of people who are in charge of so many creative aspects of their lives – be it a Snapchat story or writing their own blog. Take away their ability to co-create and they’ll quickly feel deflated. Try running monthly ideas sessions or carry out regular internal feedback surveys

2. Give them recognition

Always acknowledge when they’ve done a good job - be it incentives, bonuses or even just something simple like an email or shout out.

3. Make them feel trusted

It’s about getting rid of the rules that have no reason for being there, demolishing the hierarchy culture and scrapping micro-management. This generation want you to feel like you can rely on them.

More graduate employment tips on blog here.