Working in a job they feel passionate about is just as important to graduates as a good salary, according to research.
The survey of 646 graduates by the Police High Potential Development Scheme, revealed that more than half (55%) of graduate employees in the first five years of their career regarded enthusiasm for their subject as a key factor when considering a career.
About 55% also cited salary as a major factor and just under half (48%) wanted a challenging job.
The survey also revealed significant differences between graduates in the private and public sector.
For six in 10 public sector workers, a passion for their field was the biggest single reason for selecting a career (62%) with a third (34%) also citing the chance to make a contribution to society.
But only one in 10 private sector workers cited the chance to make a contribution to society, instead opting for a good salary (58%) and a challenging job (48%).
Female graduates were significantly more likely than male graduates to be motivated by making a contribution of society, with a quarter (26%) rating it as a key factor, compared with only 15% of men.