New Graduates are choosing Pay over Good Jobs

This summer will see a new set of college graduates joining the workforce. They are young, full of energy and ready to get to work, and the chances are that the majority of them are debt ridden. Therefore, it stands to reason that a high salary is the most important job quality for this set of new workers.

Toptal, the online freelance marketplace carried out a survey on 1,000 recent graduates from across the US on what it is that they are most looking for in their first job and the results were a resounding – money. Four times as many graduates reported that they care about earning a good salary as those who reported that they wanted opportunities for quick progression and promotion.


The following results show the statistics gleaned from this survey, and they are little surprises:

  • High salary 61%
  • Flexible working 45%
  • Using their degree and skills 36%
  • Chance to travel 30%
  • Being able to work from home 29%
  • The chance to experience new things quickly 23%
  • Quick promotion 14%

As well as these results, 58% of new graduates said that they were planning to search for work as soon as they had graduated whilst just 20% said that they wanted to or were thinking of having a break and taking a few months off before they started to forge their way into the workforce.

It is important to realize that the survey undertaken by Toptal is of a modest size, and there are many claims which are often contradictory about young people and what they really want to gain from their first job.

Toptal is finding though that salary holds far more focus with new graduates more so than the actual benefits or skills that they can gain from the job and this simply highlights exactly how important money is to the graduates of today.

Although new graduates are often labelled as an impatient generation that are seeking out quick ways to make money and instant gratification, the huge student debt that the majority of them are saddled is the most obvious explanation for this.

It is easy to understand why college graduates are choosing money over everything else, but it is important that they realize that although they have huge student debt hanging over them, it really is important that they are happy in their work and it does not just become a means to paying the bills.

Gaining overall job satisfaction is a result of a number of contributory factors and financial compensation is just one of them. Management roles have grown and managers are now tasked with the job of making sure that the workers are gaining satisfaction from their job, ensuring that the work environment is a positive one, morale is high and employees are equipped with the tools that they need to do their job.

Obviously it all boils down to the graduate whether they place their greatest emphasis on how much they can learn in a relatively short period of time. Even so, graduates are intelligent people and need to be taking a step back and think. Going to work every day, doing a job that provides little satisfaction but pays well will undoubtedly begin to grate eventually. Whilst it is important for graduates to pay off their student loans, should they really be doing this at the cost of their own happiness and job satisfaction?