Graduates are more attracted to jobs that are interesting or offer good training or career progression opportunities than those which are paid well, reveals Real Prospects 2010.

Graduate Prospects surveyed more than 14,000 employed graduates earlier this year, revealing that 55% were satisfied with their pay and benefits, the median salary being £22,000. However, while they expected to be adequately rewarded for their work, they did not consider salary to be the most important feature of their job.

Real Prospects 2010 found that almost one in five graduates were attracted to their employer because the job sounded interesting (19%), while 16% looked for leading organisations or those that offered good opportunities for progression. Location played a large role for 13% and those companies that were known to be good employers or offer good training opportunities appealed to 7%. Salary was a draw for only 6% of graduates.

In terms of additional benefits, graduates favoured pension contributions (76%), study leave/support (66%) and assistance with travel costs (65%) above overtime pay (51%) and subsidised healthcare (39%). Least desirable was use of a company car (12%).

Mike Hill, chief executive of Graduate Prospects says: “It’s refreshing to hear that graduates aren’t just seeking hard cash as a reward for putting in the hours, but are more likely to be stimulated by interesting roles that offer room for growth. Real Prospects provides insight to how graduates have found working life, offering a best practice guide to identifying and developing the best talent.”  

Real Prospects 2010 explored what graduates think about their recruitment and induction, training and development, leadership and management, salary and benefits, progression opportunities, and work-life balance. Key findings include:

  • 57% considered leaving their job within the year, mainly due to work-life balance dissatisfaction
  • 47% were expected to work in excess of their contracted hours, and 59% would like flexi-time or time off in lieu (54%).
  • 81% were satisfied with the company introduction, but 57% felt the induction to HR procedures was inadequate.
  • 90% felt opportunities to progress within the company were important, but 53% feet satisfied that they could do so.

Real Prospects is an annual survey and when findings were compared with the 2009 study it raised some interesting comparisons. Graduates are feeling much more contented than last year with support and supervision – 70% satisfied, an increase of 9%. In addition, 70% felt valued (61% in 2009) and 69% believed their professional development is encouraged (66% in 2009). However, confidence in senior management has dropped 4% to 58%.