Graduates think job satisfaction is more important than money, according to a new survey.
Of more than 2,000 final year university students, 70 per cent cited enjoyment as the most important thing when looking for a first job. Next on the list was liking the people that they work with, followed by earning 'enough', passion for the industry, good work location, and social life.
The findings, published in The Grad Facts 2002 survey, by the Guardian and the Association of Graduate Recruiters, also shows that fewer students are job-hunting while at university, with only 40 per cent looking for jobs before graduation.
Graduates say they lack confidence in the job market, with 35 per cent believing there are fewer opportunities now than in previous years.
Around a quarter said they would be put off applying for a job if it involved a complicated process, and candidates are wary of companies that require presentations and role-playing.
Graduates also expect to stay in their first jobs for a shorter time - just 15 per cent expect to stay more than three years. And although only one in five 2002 graduates went to private school, they are twice as likely to have had a job offer than those who attended state school. They also expect a higher starting salary - graduates who passed through the private school system expect at least £25,000 while others are looking for less than £20,000.
Newspapers remain the most popular medium for job-seeking graduates at 64 per cent, followed by the internet, 58 per cent, and the university careers office, at 56 per cent.
By Quentin Reade
Time grads expect to spend in first job
Up to 6 months 3%
6 months - up to 1 year 13%
1 year - up to 2 years 28%
2 years - up to 3 years 18%
3 years - up to 5 years 10%
5 years - up to 7 years 2%
7 years - up to