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Lead Your Team Managing

11 Things College Grads Look For in an Employer

11 Things College Grads Look For in an Employer
Credit: KTS Design/Shutterstock

While most of this year's college graduates have secured a job, there's a good chance the position isn't what they were expecting, new research shows.

Among those in the graduating Class of 2014 who are employed, either full or part time, more than 50 percent are in jobs that don't require a college degree, according to a study from CareerBuilder. That includes 45 percent of four-year degree graduates and 57 percent of associate degree graduates.  

Overall, 65 percent of recent college grads are employed, 4 percent are in internships and 31 percent are not working at all; however, some in that group have gone back to school to pursue a higher degree.

When searching for an employer, the Class of 2014's wish list is quite full. Overall, work-life balance trumps all other factors that would make graduates more likely to pursue employment with a particular company.

Other factors that this year's crop of college grads are looking for in a new employer:

  • Being well-established and growing
  • Provides good learning opportunities
  • Is geographically desirable
  • Gives back to the community
  • Provides nice perks, such as catered lunches and concierge services
  • Is a leader in technology
  • Is global
  • Has a lot of young people working there
  • Has a fun social media presence
  • Has a cool website

Knowing that obtaining everything on their wish list might not be realistic right now, the majority of this year's graduates have placed a priority on obtaining a higher degree. More than 60 percent of those surveyed are already pursuing an advanced degree or plan to do so in the next year. [Don't Quit! College Still Best Path to Entrepreneurial Success ]

Of those graduates whose current job doesn't require a college degree, 36 percent are currently pursuing an advanced degree, while 22 percent plan to do so within the next 12 months.

Rosemary Haefner, vice president of human resources for CareerBuilder, said the study suggests that many employed graduates are taking jobs to support the completion of their next degree.   

"The first six months after graduation marks a major transition that can take many forms, but for the Class of 2014, the emphasis is less on finding the dream job out-of-the-gate and more on furthering one's education," Haefner said in a statement. "The wage premium for attaining a graduate or professional degree has always been high, and this generation clearly understands the promising employment opportunities rewarded to the most-educated workers." 

Despite many not having jobs that require a degree, the vast majority of college grads believe going to college wasn't a waste of time. Nearly 90 percent of those surveyed think their college degree will be worth the investment in the long run.

"There was feeling among college graduates during and after the recession that their pursuit wasn't worth the investment, but fortunately this class has a very optimistic outlook," Haefner said. "The job market is on the rebound, and a majority of companies are again recruiting college grads."

The study was based on surveys of 305 college graduates from the Class of 2014.

Originally published on Business News Daily.

Chad  Brooks
Chad Brooks

Chad Brooks is a Chicago-based freelance writer who has nearly 15 years experience in the media business. A graduate of Indiana University, he spent nearly a decade as a staff reporter for the Daily Herald in suburban Chicago, covering a wide array of topics including, local and state government, crime, the legal system and education. Following his years at the newspaper Chad worked in public relations, helping promote small businesses throughout the U.S. Follow him on Twitter.