When it comes to graduate careers, men and women think differently and for men, salary is more important than a company’s dodgy image and having a fulfilling career.

These were findings from the trendence UK Graduate Barometer Survey 2014, the largest annual survey of undergraduates’ career plans with over 27,000 students taking part from over 100 universities and from all year groups.

In the survey, undergraduates were asked a number of questions about their career goals, their job-seeking behaviour and the employers they would most like to work for. It was clear that men and women had very different priorities when it came to choosing the first employer after graduation and very different attitudes to issues like salary, ethics and fulfilment at work.

  •  “If the salary was right, I would work for a company with a bad image.” 39.7% of men agreed with this statement, compared to 20.4% of women
  • “Ethical and moral issues play an important role in my choice of employer.” 63% of women agreed, compared to 51.2% of men
  • “It’s more important for me to feel fulfilled at work than to earn lots of money.” 70.8% of women agreed, compared to 57.1% of men.

Women and men enjoy equal access to graduate employment across all sectors of work, although now and in the past there are certain careers that traditionally attract more men than women, or more women than men. The responses from the survey show that there are also gender differences when it comes to important career decisions. The difference is most marked in the first statement with around twice the number of men surveyed saying that they would overlook an employer’s bad image if it meant a bigger salary.

Alexandra Kong, UK Research and Data Manager at trendence UK, says: “The way we collect the data enables us to identify not only key differences between men and women, but between students of different year groups, different universities, degree subjects and ethnic backgrounds. What emerges is a complex picture of the wishes and hopes of current undergraduates, vital information for graduate recruiters and universities as they plan their promotion, information and guidance campaigns.”


The trendence UK Graduate Barometer is the most comprehensive careers survey in the country, surveying more students at a wider range of institutions than any other graduate employment research provider. It contains data from over 100 universities, all subjects and all year groups. Over 27,000 students completed the survey, with 17,000 responses from the top 30 universities.