Training and development are the top priority in jobs criteria list for graduates

Training and development are perceived as more important than salary, suggests a survey of graduates.

A poll conducted by accountancy firm Ernst & Young found that nearly half (44%) of more than 1,000 respondents rated training opportunities highest, while 18% voted for salary and benefits as their top concern.

Additional options include work-life balance, which attracted 16% of votes, business reputation (12%), and people and culture (8%).

Surprisingly, ethical and environmental considerations attracted a mere 3% of voters who believe it to be the most important reason for choosing an employer.

Stephen Isherwood, head of Graduate Recruitment at Ernst & Young, said: “Despite the many concerns students have when thinking about their future employer, it is still critically important for many of them that their new job offers them opportunities to learn, and to develop their own careers.

“Students perceive work-life balance in a different way to that of experienced hires who may have young families and other commitments. Travel, secondments, variety of projects and a flexible approach to work are all vital to graduates searching for that all-important first job. Often these are as important as the desire for that first pay cheque,” Isherwood added.

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