Grads optimistic about landing a job

Students feel determined and optimistic about job market


JACKSONVILLE, Fla. – Fifty percent of students feel 'determined' and 'optimistic' about their job search, with more than 75 percent of Generation Z and Millennials expecting to find a job within 4-5 months of graduation. These new findings from the most recent Way to Work™ survey by Adecco Staffing USA indicate that young Americans are overwhelmingly confident in their ability to find a job, despite 74 percent of respondents feeling as though their colleges and universities are failing to fully prepare them for their post-grad careers. 

For the second year, Adecco conducted a survey of Generation Z and Millennial students as part of its Way to Work™ program, which helps prepare students and recent graduates for internships and job opportunities. This year, 1,004 students ages 18-24 were surveyed on a number of job-related topics. While aspirations differ between the Gen Z and Millennial generations, there is a consensus that abundant opportunities exist in the workforce today.

"It's a really fascinating time to be entering the workforce," said Joyce Russell, president, Adecco Staffing, USA. "With the national unemployment rate at an eight-year low, this year's graduates are fortunate to be entering a candidate's market with more job openings than have been available to graduates in recent memory. With numerous opportunities to pursue, the question for grads is no longer how to find a job, but, rather, how to findthe right job." 

Preparing for the Job Search 
While most students feel their college or university is failing to prepare them fully for their career, an overwhelming majority (90 percent) agree that a college degree is still necessary to obtain a well-paying job.

Most respondents (74 percent) believe that colleges and universities are failing to prepare students for jobs in at least one way with the most cited reasons being teaching applicable 'real life' business skills (32 percent), followed by providing potential internship opportunities (21 percent) and career services (18 percent). Gen Z demonstrates more trust in its universities or colleges and utilizes school career centers more than Millennials (32 percent versus 27 percent) to aid in their job/internship search. The majority of respondents (68 percent) believe they have held or will hold 1-4 jobs/internships before graduation.

"With the skills gap continuing to permeate the workforce, it's critical today's students obtain training and experience that will allow them to hit the ground running upon their entry into the 'real world'," added Russell. "While college degrees are still highly valued in the workplace, it's encouraging to see students are actively pursuing multiple internships during their college careers to supplement their traditional education and become more employable."

When asked about terms they most associate with Gen Z, respondents most frequently selected 'technologically savvy', 'creative', 'driven', 'self-absorbed', and 'energetic', many of which are traits that could be helpful in landing a job.

Navigating the Job Search 
With 40 percent of respondents calling Gen Z technologically savvy, it's unsurprising that social media plays a large role in assessing potential employers. Facebook (64 percent), followed by LinkedIn (42 percent) are the most used social media platforms when Gen Z researches the culture of potential employers. Additionally, women are more likely to use LinkedIn, Instagram, and Glassdoor, while men are more likely to use Twitter.

While respondents generally feel optimistic and confident about their job search, Millennials are more concerned with finding a job (26 percent) than their Gen Z peers (20 percent).  

Choosing the Job 
More than two out of three respondents (69 percent) would rather have a stable job lacking passion than a job they feel passionately about but that lacks stability. This finding is consistent with 2015 data. The desire for a job with stability over passion is equally important to men and women as well as across both age groups.

Not surprisingly, opportunity for growth is once again a critical factor in students' choice, at 36 percent, the same as in 2015. Financial stability was listed as a top three priority of 62 percent of respondents, followed by having a dream job (55 percent).

"With opportunity for career growth clearly a top selling point for candidates, employers looking to attract top talent should emphasize available professional development and career paths in the interview process," said Russell.  "Providing talent with training, mentorship as well as a clear career trajectory can potentially increase loyalty and retention."

Today's students realize relocation may be necessary in their pursuit of the right job. In fact:

  • Almost two out of five (39 percent) students are planning to move to a different city/state after graduating, and the majority (53 percent) of respondents expect to move to 2-3 cities throughout their careers.
  • The most cited reason to move for a different job include 'to get a well-paying job' (68 percent), followed by 'getting a job with a great deal of security' (35 percent).  
  • Respondents are equally likely to choose New York (16 percent) and Los Angeles (16 percent) as the cities they are most willing to move to after graduation. 

To view additional survey findings, please visit here. To learn more about Adecco's Way to Work™ program, including its CEO for One Month internship opportunity, as well as to access resources to help students and recent graduates land their dream job, please visit Adecco's Way to Work™ Career Center.


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