Study: The Class Of 2011 Cares More About Developing Skills Than Their Starting Salaries

Though this year’s college grads have had much more luck in finding jobs at a much higher rate (20%) than the graduates of the last few years, apparently they care more about developing their skills at their current job level than climbing up the corporate ladder or even their salary.

According to CNN Money, ” The National Association of Colleges and Employers recently surveyed 20,000 graduating seniors to find out what they hoped to get out of their first jobs, the researchers noticed an interesting trend: “Opportunity for advancement,” a high priority for those who earned their sheepskins between 2008 and 2010, didn’t even make the top five this year.”

“Opportunity for personal development” took the number one spot, followed by job security, good insurance benefits, and friendly coworkers. The grads in the study ranked starting salary as number five on the list. What are they teaching in colleges now? That you should actually hone your skills as a professional before demanding more money? Crazy!

“We’ve seen ‘personal development’ moving up the list since the recession started, suggesting that students recognize they may need to look for job satisfaction in other ways” than fancier titles and bigger paychecks, said NACE executive director Marilyn Mackes.

And prioritizing health insurance over a higher salary? Why that is downright logical! Kids today are far more practical than I was when I graduated. I didn’t even sign up for health insurance at my first job right away because it made my already pitiful pay check even more pathetic. I just figured if I took good care of myself I wouldn’t get sick. A stress fractured foot, anemia, eczema and one case of the shingles later, I can say that I now think health insurance is very essential.

According to another survey, by online insurer eHealthInsurance and Kelton Research, about half of college graduates (49%) think it would be worth taking a job they dislike in order to get employer-sponsored health insurance. Apparently health insurance is so important to these smart young people that most current college students (90%) and recent grads (93%) admit they’d actually be more romantically attracted to someone if they found out that person was insured. Who knew health insurance could be so sexy?

The same poll found that almost half (46%) of their parents agree that having health insurance is more important than working at a job you are not totally in love with. Parents and their 20-something kids in agreement? What is happening to the world?

Photo: Warner Brothers’ Felicity


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    • Stephanie

      This is definitely something that needs to be recognized as what’s important! My mom is still hung up on making sure I can make a living, which is definitely a top priority. But she’s not as open minded about “personal development” and job satisfaction over salary to start.
      \Thanks for this it was great!