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The Accenture 2014 College Graduate Employment Survey explores the expectations and experiences of US college students who will be graduating in 2014 and those who graduated in 2012 and 2013 related to education, skills, finding a job, salary expectations, debt and post-graduation living arrangements.
The survey polled more than 2,000 students and compares the perceptions of the class of 2014 who are preparing to enter the job market, with the experiences of recent grads already in the working world. A similar study was conducted in 2013.
Accenture 2014 College Graduate Employment SurveyLearn more about the expectations and experiences of US college students who will be graduating in 2014.
View the Infographic: What Awaits 2014 Grads in the Working World? View the Research Statistics
The research identifies several strategies for how employers can improve how they hire and develop entry-level talent coming out of college, something that is essential to maximizing the overall “talent supply chain”.
Download Great Expectations: Insights from the Accenture 2014 College Graduate Employment Survey
The Accenture 2014 College Graduate Employment Survey was conducted between March 4 and March 14, 2014. Respondents included a total of 2,015 college students: 1,010 graduating in 2014, 1,005 from the classes of 2013 and 2012.
Of the students surveyed, 1,738 attended a four-year college, 270 attended a two-year junior or community college and seven attended a vocational/technical college. Seven hundred and twenty-six respondents pursued a Bachelor of Arts degree, 948 pursued a Bachelor of Science degree, 168 pursued an Associate of Arts degree and 173 pursued an Associate of Science degree.
The Accenture 2014 College Graduate Employment Survey found that:
The vast majority of students about to graduate from college in 2014 (80 percent) expect their first employer to provide them with a formal training program, but more than half (52 percent) of 2012 and 2013 graduates surveyed say they did not receive training in their first job after graduation.
Forty-six percent of workers who graduated from college in the past two years say they are underemployed and working in jobs that do not require their college degrees, an increase from 41 percent of recent graduates in our 2013 survey. See this stat.
Two-thirds (66 percent) of those who graduated in 2012 and 2013 believe their education prepared them for their career. More than half (51 percent) said their college or university was effective in helping them find employment opportunities after graduating.
Students are considering the availability of jobs in their field of study earlier than in the past: three-quarters (75 percent) of those graduating in 2014 took into account the availability of jobs in their field before deciding their major compared to 70 percent of 2013 graduates, and 65 percent of 2012 graduates.
The Job Market Remains Tough
Only 11 percent of students graduating in 2014 had already secured a job at the time of this year’s research compared to 16 percent of last year’s 2013 graduating class.
Forty-six percent of 2012/2013 grads are employed full time, down from 68 percent of 2011/2012 grads; 27 percent of 2012/2013 grads are employed part time, significantly up from 16 percent of last year’s recent graduates.
Eighty-four percent of 2014 grads expect they will find a job in their chosen field, compared to 67 percent of 2012/2013 grads who are working in their chosen field
Graduates Financial Outlook
While only 18 percent of this year’s graduates expect to earn $25,000 a year or less, more than twice as many (41 percent) employed 2012 and 2013 graduates have a salary within that range.
Thirty-two percent of the class of 2014 will graduate with no student loan debt, compared to 36 percent of 2012 and 2013 graduates.
Forty-one percent of pending 2014 graduates will leave school with student loan debt of $30,000 or less, while 16 percent will have loan debt in the $30,000 to $50,000 range.
A greater proportion of the class of 2014 will look to share student loan debt with their parents: 28 percent of pending 2014 graduates, compared to 25 percent of those about to graduate in 2013.
Sixty-one percent of pending 2014 graduates with student loans plan to pay off the debt without help from their parents.
While 38 percent of pending 2014 grads plan to live at home after graduation, 42 percent of 2012 and 2013 college grads said they are currently living at home.
Graduates See the Value of Investing in their Education
Of the 13 percent of 2012 and 2013 grads who have been unemployed since graduation, 41 percent believe their job prospects would have been enhanced had they chosen a different major, and 72 percent expect to go back to school within the next five years.
Forty-five percent of all 2012 and 2013 grads with a two-year degree said they will need to obtain a four-year degree in order to secure the job they want.
Internships remain a good opportunity for graduates to advance to a paying job; of the 69 percent of 2012 and 2013 graduates who participated in an internship while still in school, more than one-third (36 percent) said the internship led to a job.
While many students graduate from college feeling ready to enter the working world, they may not be prepared for the exact roles being offered. Accenture recommends five strategies for companies hiring and developing recent college graduates just entering the working world:
Hire based on potential, not just immediate qualifications. HR filters can screen out great candidates because their resumes do not include the required keywords. Recent graduates will not have every skill you are looking for, so consider candidates that show a desire for continuous learning, transferable skills and problem-solving capabilities. If the role does not require a distinctive educational background, avoid hiring overly qualified applicants who may not stay long.
Use talent development as a hiring differentiator. The ability to offer training and career advancement can be a differentiator when attracting and retaining top talent. If your training is distinctive, emphasize that in your recruiting strategy, social media presence and discussions with candidates.
Consider alternative talent pools. Be creative when it comes to sourcing new employees, and use tools to mine online communities for young people with strong digital brands that demonstrate the skills you’re looking for.
Cast your net more widely. Many 2014 grads are willing to relocate for a good job. Don’t constrain yourself to local talent, but look more broadly outside your local area.
Tangibles matter, even to millennials. Although the Millennial Generation has acquired a reputation for valuing intangibles in the workplace such as meaningful work and work-life balance, competitive compensation and a benefits package including health insurance drives most of them in terms of what they are looking for from an employer.
May 6, 2014
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