Study Reveals Salary Not the Most Important Factor for Students When Deciding Where to Work

An award-winning research study conducted by assistant professor Ed Ng from the Business Administration program at Trent University, and co-authored by Professor Ronald Burke at York University, has delivered some surprising findings about what today's business students want from employers when considering their first jobs.

'Contrary to popular belief, students did not rank compensation as the most important factor when accepting their first jobs. In fact it was ranked in sixth place,' explained Prof. Ng, who, in addition to his teaching and research activities at Trent, is also the chair of the Gender and Diversity in Organizations division of the Administrative Sciences Association of Canada, an association of management professors in Canada.

Top Ten Factors Business Students Consider When Choosing Employers:

1. Opportunities for advancement

2. Good training opportunities, and the chance to develop new skills

3. Good people to work with (coworkers)

4. Good people to report to (supervisors)

5. Challenging work

6. Good initial starting salary

7. Work – life balance

8. Job security

9. Opportunities to make a personal impact

10. Good health and benefits plan

According to the study, which was recently selected as a Highly Commended winner at the 2007 Emerald Literati Network Awards for Excellence, the most important thing business students look for from potential employers was having opportunities for career advancement.

Prof. Ng also noted that an employer's commitment to social responsibility came in second last in the rankings, in thirteenth place.

Prof. Ng's paper, entitled 'The next generation at work: Business students views, values and job search strategy implications for universities and employers', explores the career expectations and job search behaviours of the next generation of workers (more popularly termed “Generation Y”). The study was commissioned by a consortium of 30 large Canadian companies interested in attracting the next generation of talents. It was based upon a sample of 20,271 university and college students across Canada. The study originally appeared in the Volume 48, No. 7 issue of Education + Training, a highly regarded journal in the field of business management published by Emerald.

In response to winning a 2007 Emerald Literati Network Awards for Excellence, Prof. Ng was ecstatic, saying: 'I am hoping that it will bring more realization from the community and the world that the Business Administration program at Trent is a serious academic department conducting active and important research. Personally, it is also gratifying to have my research activities recognized at an early stage of my career.'