According to new research from The Student Room, the UK’s leading student social networking site, graduates’ and current university students’ sense of determination is reflected in the fact that eight out of 10 (83 per cent) are convinced that they will eventually work in their preferred career, and are prepared to take several steps to get there.

And they are unwavering in their resolve, with a majority (56 per cent) of those in work proactively choosing their current job because it offers a boost that will pave their way to their preferred career.

Ambitious graduates are committed to getting the most out of staging post jobs to hone their skills (40 per cent), gain the experience they need for their chosen career (32 per cent) or to get their foot in the door (21 per cent) to their ideal job.

And the next wave are even more career focussed. More than a fifth of current undergrad students (42 per cent) had settled on a career choice before applying to university — compared to 33 per cent of those who graduated in the past. As a result, today’s undergraduates are also actively focussing on studying a degree that paves the way to a career, with 67 per cent of current student’s degrees relating to a ‘dream job’.

Pay packets are not seen as the guiding force in career choices by modern graduates. A career’s potential to be interesting (58 per cent) or rewarding (42 per cent) are now bigger motivating factors than salary (27 per cent). Consequently, university leavers are turning their backs on more established graduate roles, such as banking and finance, and media in favour of careers in healthcare (16 per cent) creative and cultural industries (11 per cent) and teaching and education (eight per cent).

The Student Room research also reveals that today’s graduates’ are shunning traditional sources of career advice such as parents and professional career advisors, focussing on proactive research. Two fifths (39 per cent) chose their career thanks to their own research, with one in seven (13 per cent) inspired by their own work experience — far outstripping the influence of parents (four per cent) or school careers services (four per cent).

Jamie O’Connell, marketing director at The Student Room, said: “The graduate jobs market is more competitive than any point in history, but the findings show that today’s students are becoming increasingly ambitious and taking a clear-sighted, long-term view.

“Generation Y has been called the Peter Pan generation — well, Peter Pan has woken up. They know what they want and they know how to get there. They are taking adult career decisions and taking them early and seeing them through. It’s remarkable how far they are taking responsibility for their own futures. This is probably the most dedicated and motivated generation for years.”

Insight ( is The Student Room’s new website, giving recruiters and youth advertisers a deeper understanding of students’ and recent graduates’ attitudes, ambitions and decision making. Launched on Tuesday 30 March, it will include a graduate recruitment white paper featuring these findings in-depth, along with comment and analysis.