What Are Fresh Grads’ Career and Life Goals?

It’s important for businesses to understand the goals, wants, and needs of fresh graduates. These are the world’s newest professionals, and snagging the best of the best out of every new batch of fresh grads entails taking a deeper look into what makes them tick. In America, a glaringly obvious indicator of what motivates fresh grads is approximately $1.6 trillion in student debt incurred by around 42 million Americans, which brings us to our first point.

Getting Rid of Any and All Consumer Debt

On the way to securing their diplomas, many graduates have incurred credit card debt, student loans, or other financial obligations that weigh heavily on their future. Given the high amount of student debt a student could be saddled with after graduation, it makes sense that they’d want to settle this as soon as possible. In fact, Jill Schlesinger told Marcus that one of the top things recent grads should tackle is getting rid of their consumer debt. Settling such obligations can help them move forward with their finances in life and reach their long-term goals much sooner. Without any debt to their name, fresh grads have better access to mortgage and business loans, travel opportunities, and many other factors that can help them grow or get established.

A Great Work Culture

Hiring and staffing data collated by Fast Company identify company culture as a huge factor in how Gen-Z fresh grads search for potential employers. In terms of what a great work culture means, the first thing they’re looking for is a company that offers growth opportunities, with 76% of those surveyed saying that they want to be promoted within one to two years of being employed. The second is work-life balance, which includes flexible working schedules as well as employee healthcare and other benefits — indicative of how future-focused fresh grads want companies that they can stay with for years. The third is good compensation, which brings us to our next point.

Competitive Salary

Most fresh grads today earn an average annual salary of $50,000. However, they’re actually expecting figures closer to $60,000. This is according to a LendEdu analysis of a College Pulse survey involving 7,000 students from almost 1,000 different colleges and universities. It simply means that fresh grads today are more informed about how much they should be getting paid. As Gartner’s vice president for research Brian Kropp explains in an interview with CNBC, “A lot of companies will say ‘This is the standard offer for new campus hires, associates, analysts,’ whatever it may be. But given how competitive the market is, they actually have a lot more flexibility in terms of a signing bonus, in terms of bonus potential and so on.”

As a labor shortage crisis looms across the American business landscape, understanding the mentality of new professionals is becoming more and more important to maintaining a competitive edge. The better your company understands and responds to the goals and needs of fresh graduates, the easier it will be for you to find and retain the top talents in the next graduating class.