Employment expectations of Management School Graduates

Employment expectations and
preparations of Management
School Undergraduates
Adelina Broadbridge
Management Education Centre
Aim: to provide findings from research undertaken with
current undergraduates’ on their career expectations
and preparations for employment after graduation.
• The vast majority fall into the category of Generation Y
• Increasingly high contributors to the economy (Poornima,
• Challenging and shaping contemporary management (Meier
& Crocker, 2010; McDonald, 2011)
• ‘… current new entrants to the workforce, represent its growth
and evolution, and have different needs from their
predecessors ‘(Mello, 2011, p. 43)
• 83:1 graduates for every graduate job (AGR, 2011)
• Number of graduates entering FT employment is at lowest for
a decade
Based on research conducted with Gillian Maxwell and Susan
Ogden, Glasgow Caledonian University
Characteristics of Gen Y
50+ characteristics
• Employment terms
and conditions
• Management
approach and culture
• Personal career
• Personal values
Background – Generation Y
Employment terms &
Management approach
& culture
• job and employment
• career & professional
• higher entry level and
fast tracking
• high expectations of
• positive company
• open & positive
• empowerment and
Background – Generation Y
Personal career
• drive for career
success, craving
opportunity &
• individual responsibility
for career
• need to meet personal
Personal values
• balanced lifestyle (but
willing to sacrifice worklife balance in short
term for career gain)
• enjoyment of work,
embrace change,
diversity, equality,
tolerance, fairness
Objectives of the research
• Why do undergraduates choose to go to
• What are undergraduates’ expectations for
their employment after they graduate?
• Do undergraduates prepare for, and
manage, their graduate employability and, if
so, what employability strategies are they
• How do students view the current economic
climate and their opportunities for their
future employment?
• Questionnaire with 486 UG students (SU
& GCU)
• 13 focus groups (10 groups= SU)
• 105 students (3rd & 4th years)
• Each session lasted one hour
Reasons for coming to university
• Natural progression (influence of school,
parents & others)
• Response to current economic climate
• Delaying tactic
• Regret of full-time work experience
• Acquire human capital skills necessary to
enter labour market
• Enhance employment prospects generally
Expectations for employment after
• Satisfaction & fulfilment (pride, passion,
enjoyment, a vocation)
• Opportunities (growth, stability, status,
responsibilities, power)
• Progression (promotion, continual training,
development and learning; new skills; new
Expectations for employment after
• Career is an integral part of their lives
• Assumption of personal responsibility for
focusing and driving own career success with
the back up of training and development
opportunities and supportive managers
• Building, developing, achieving, progressing
– in search of challenging and responsible
• A desire to make a difference in their work
but also for a good work-life balance and
“money’s not my priority – I’m hungry for
success but not money…it’s not money
that’s driving me otherwise I would be an
entrepreneur. I want to do something that
matters to society … is part of a big picture.
I would want to have a position that would
enable be to afford a comfortable family life
… afford the rent, who knows even a
mortgage” (laughs) (Group 6, Male)
Concern for WLB
• “I hope that I’m going to have a good work-life
balance. In the beginning I will set my priorities on a
job and having a career. But in the long run a job
doesn’t satisfy you, you have to have social
relationships, maybe a family. I don’t think too much
about a family right now but in 20 years or so... I think
it is very important to manage work and private life.”
(Group 4, Female)
“that’s my main focus to have a good work-life
balance more so than achieving a certain status in my
career … I want enjoyment, sense of fulfilment [rather
than money]. I want to look forward going to work”
(Group 4, Male)
Much concern over the recession
• “I hope the recession is away when I graduate” (Group 13)
• “I think it is really difficult now because there are so many students
whereas before you would get a graduate job….….there are so
many people and small amount of jobs…a lot of graduates will do
jobs that they could have done before without a degree” (Group 4)
• “It makes you think of more options rather than just one – need to
think of options B, C, D etc. now too as well as A. ‘I worry about it a
lot’ . You need to think about how you differentiate yourself from
others” (Group 11)
• “there’s so much competition out there….you are not just facing
people from your country but from all over the world, so you have to
find a way of standing out from crowd.” (Group 3)
Preparations for graduate employment
• Skills strategists (need for right combination of skills &
experience – acquisition of human capital; believe in a
meritocratic system; concern for a 2i degree) [biggest
• Opportunistic strategists (more proactive re current
employment market? More attuned to using social
capital networks to getting a job; more outspoken
about selling themselves into a job; recognise the
benefits of voluntary work and generic skills acquired
through employment)
• Non strategists (ignore thinking about the future;
aware of economic conditions but delaying taking a
decision - PG studies, gap year, travel, ) [smallest
Employers’ perspectives:
What makes Gen Y stand out in the workplace?
Generation Y employees standout: generally “more complex”
and “upfront”; very strong communication preferences, e.g.
• all brought up 100% on technology... used to social media ...
instant expectations, so frustrated with slower corporate
• They don’t have long attention spans, you need to keep them
interested or they’ll switch off quickly
• There’s a different sense of boundaries around hierarchy.
They want senior leaders to be very accessible. Definitely less
• Undoubtedly know what they want...very clear on what they
want from the company, what will make their life great...more
focus on themselves… need to be paid attention to
• Vocal about what they are willing and not willing to do
Employer responses:
implications on how to manage Gen Y
“using simple messaging to get engagement & to try and play to their
“having group interaction and individual [leader] approachability”
“definitely have to sell more to this generation...show something that’s
in it for them, that fits with their values and vision.”
“They are a lot less open to accepting information, wanting evidence/
“manage more loosely, within broad parameters”
“reversing 1-2-1s so the individual brings information to their manager”
“shift training material to more on-line and more for the individual”
“changing dress code”
“less overt things e.g. around CSR on volunteering and being greener
to show individual personality”
The job of educators in this process?
• facilitate students adopting a protean attitude
to their careers
• overcome any naivety over skills needed for
future employment
• build the importance of personal capital into
• be in tune with how students learn & what is
important to them
• best prepare students for the world of work &
continual learning & improvement
• build associations with our alumni and
integrate into curriculum (many are Gen Y