As graduation season approaches, it’s important to understand the expectations of the 2017 graduating class to most effectively shape your college recruiting strategy. The 2017 Yello Collegiate Study: Undergraduate Expectations includes insights from more than 1,700 current college students, on what they expect in their first job relating to salary expectations, the motivations for joining a large versus a small company, the reasons for choosing a particular city to pursue a career and more. Companies can use these insights to understand college students’ perceptions and opinions of the current job market. These tips will help your organization develop strategies around building a positive environment for upcoming college graduates, helping foster a pipeline of top talent for years to come.

1. High Starting Salaries ARE the Expectation

65% of all college students expect to make $60,000 right out of college and 10% of college students expect to earn $100,000+. Education and major ranked highest among the reasons college graduates have set their expected starting salary at $60,000+.  Key insights include:

  • Women are 20% less likely than their male counterparts to expect to earn $60,000 in their first year of employment. 70% of men expect to make more than $60,000, while only 53% of women expect to make more than $60,000.
  • Undergrads aiming for a career in the tech industry aren’t afraid to set their sights high. 74% of respondents looking to join the tech industry expect to make more than $60,000 as an entry-level salary. These expectations are largely driven by the idea that their specific education opens the door to high-paying jobs right out of college.
  • Takeaway for talent acquisition teams: Whether your company offers growth plans or career development opportunities, discussing a success plan that includes specific checkpoints with college students will demonstrate how your organization rewards hard work and ambition. If you are a tech-industry hiring manager with budgetary restraints, you may need to rein in expectations or be creative with how you can demonstrate value. Companies can also help mitigate gender-based compensation discrepancies by adopting a pay transparency policy or creating diversity groups that speak to topics such as equal pay.

2. Play Up Your Company’s Size

Almost half of college students have a strong opinion about the size of the company in which they want to work. Key insights include:

  • Smaller companies (less than 500 employees): For those surveyed who want to work for a smaller company, 77% of college students believe they will gain more executive-level exposure. Smaller companies attract the students who want to learn from leaders on the job.
  • Larger companies (more than 500 employees): For those surveyed who want to work for a larger company, 42% of college students believe they will receive more education and training. Larger companies attract the students who want to receive better employee benefits, and industry education and training
  • Takeaway for talent acquisition teams: Companies, large and small, should play to their strengths. As a smaller company, highlight access to the C-suite for even the most junior employees. For larger companies, focus on specific training programs that are offered on or off-site.

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Download Your Copy of The 2017 Yello Collegiate Study: What Undergraduates Expect Before They Accept


3. College Students Want to Work in Industry Hubs

The top reason college students choose to work away from their hometown or university is to be close to an industry hub and gain access to influential leaders. Undergrads are eager to learn from industry leaders and are willing to move away from family and friends to make that a reality. Key insights include:

  • 32% of respondents want to work in a city that is the hub of an industry in which they want to be employed. College students value thought leadership, expertise, and innovation that comes with living and working in the hub of the industry in which they want to launch their careers.
  • 19% of college students want to work in a city close to where they grew up; 8% want to work in a city where they went to school.
  • Takeaway for talent acquisition teams: Play up your company’s location in your campus branding efforts. College students are willing to move to where the industry expertise lies, so organizations can capitalize on this when recruiting college talent.

4. College Students are Invested in the Future

While student loans continue to overwhelm many college students, they are looking for 401k matches instead of student loan reimbursement or additional education subsidies. Students report they want 401k matching as a benefit two times more than student loan repayments.  Key insights include:

  • 46% of college students report that 401k matching would most positively impact their decision to accept a job offer from a company.
  • Takeaway for talent acquisition teams: Highlight your company’s 401k match, the enrollment process and ways employees can maximize this benefit. Also, continue to monitor changing trends as student loan repayments may become more desired in the years to come.

5. Employee Wellness Programs Matter

Both employee and environmental wellness programs are a deciding factor for college students to accept a job. Key insights include:

  • 75% of college students indicate that employee wellness benefits would impact their job offer acceptance.
  • Takeaway for talent acquisition teams: Attract top talent by highlighting your company’s commitment to employee and environmental wellness in campus recruitment marketing collateral. Whether it’s paying for gym memberships or rewarding employees for riding their bikes to work, the employee and environmental health initiatives you offer could be a decisive advantage.

Are you looking to ramp up your 2017 college recruiting tactics? Find out how interview scheduling software can help.