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Press Release

Graduates value a strong work-life balance more than money

New report of over 2,000 graduates reveals top graduate goals and ambitions – Graduate recruiters say it’s a stark change from the previous generation.

LONDON, United Kingdom 18.03.2016. / A new study provides evidence of a clear contrast between generations and their ambitions, according to graduate recruitment expert Ben Rosen, CEO of Inspiring Interns. Unlike the generation before them, recent graduates place double the importance on a strong work-life balance than they do on their earnings to chart their success.

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Inspiring Interns logo

The Bright Network study of over 2,000 of the country’s top graduates also found that high priority was placed on a clear path for advancement over and above high earnings.

Ben Rosen is unsurprised by the study’s findings. “While the baby-boomers were traditionally concerned with competitive salaries, along with the idea that your life is what you do outside of work, recent graduates have a stronger focus on development and working in innovative spaces,” he says. He adds “more graduates than ever are spurning big business in favour of fast-growing and innovative work environments that offer a more respectful and dynamic work culture where their lifestyle and work-life are much more intertwined”.

Analysis on Inspiring Interns’ applications backs this trend, with creative industries receiving more than double the applications per vacancy compared to traditional sales roles.

Other highlights from the Bright Network study included:

  • 70% of undergraduates feel it is important to secure a graduate job before they finish university
  • Despite this, only 31% of 2016 graduates are actively applying for roles
  • 92% consider it important to gain work experience at university
  • The biggest obstacles to employment are noted as strong competition, lack of experience and a lack of networks or contacts
  • In their employers, graduates want a fast-moving and innovative employer providing them with professional training in a friendly, respectful environment.

The report, ‘What do Graduates Want?’ questioned 2,303 undergraduates about their future careers across a broad spectrum, including 66% state-school educated students, and 46% BAME students.

Inspiring Interns is the UK’s leading graduate recruitment agency, connecting the best graduates to top companies UK wide. They work across all sectors, from some of the biggest graduate employers, down to the most innovative start-ups and SMEs. They’ve placed over 5000 candidates since 2009, and work with companies including M&C Saatchi Mobile, Virgin and Lloyds.

For further comment, including exclusive quotes from executive management and our in-house career experts, contact Matt Arnerich on or telephone 0207 269 6143.

Notes for the Editor
Bright Network was founded in 2008 with a simple mission, to create a free to join, innovative network of the brightest students and connect them with the best career opportunities. With a focus on quality, from just one event with 100 students in 2009, their network has grown. They now have 80,000+ members all of whom are studying at, or graduates from, top universities.