Salary is the most important thing for graduates
Salary is the most important factor for new graduates entering the jobs market according to a study by management consultancy company Hay Group.
The overwhelming majority (93%) of this year's graduates describe base pay as an important or very important factor in their career choice. Perks of the job also featured heavily, with half of respondents regarding them as a key issue.
Sadly, just 16% said passion for the job was a key concern, with only 4% wanting to 'make a difference' via their work.
Christopher Smith, reward information consultant at Hay Group, said: "Acutely aware of the difficult labour market and rising living costs, they are looking for a career path that makes financial sense first and foremost. Idealistic factors barely come into consideration."
Differences between expectations and reality
The study also revealed stark discrepancies between what graduates believed they would earn from their first job, and the actual salary provided in graduate level posts.
The study compared perceptions with reality across 6 main job functions. On average, graduates underestimate the starting wage they can expect across the six functions by almost £7,500.
For example, graduates put a starting salary in the finance division at just £18,880, but could actually expect over £7,100 more. In reality, a graduate level employee could earn an average of £26,000 in the finance function of a mid-to-large organisation.
In HR, graduates envisage a starting salary under £19,700, but could actually earn almost £26,300 on average - a difference of approximately £6,500.
Smith added: "Confidence in the market is understandably subdued amongst the Class of 2011.
"Confronted by an uncertain outlook, graduates have lowered their remuneration expectations well below what they can expect to earn in the main functions of the UK's largest graduate employers."