Nearly one-half of graduates rate training opportunities as their highest priority in choosing a job, according to a new poll.
The survey by accounting firm Ernst and Yong found 44 per cent of 1,000 respondents rank training and development as their top priority compared to just 18 per cent who rank salary and benefits as their top concern.
"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," said Stephen Isherwood, head of graduate recruitment at Ernst and Young in England.
Work-life balance came in third with 16 per cent of respondents ranking this as most important, followed by business reputation at 12 per cent and people and culture at eight per cent.
"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 paycheque," said Isherwood.
Despite the view of the younger generation being more concerned about the environment and social justice, just three per cent of graduates said ethical and environmental considerations were the most important.