5 things graduates look for in employers

The Straits Times - 2019


A recent survey of more than 13,000 graduates and undergraduates from local universities has found that a growing number of them are interested in joining the technological industry. It observed that more graduates across all disciplines of study are viewing this industry as the next big frontier for their early careers.


"Each year, we see tech firms and employers with strong in-house tech divisions steadily climbing the ranks. Despite the buzz surrounding the distributing effects of the tech industry and the advent of Industry 4.0, it seems that graduates across the board still see the tech industry as a winning bet," says Mr Isaac Hee, managing director of GTI Media Asia, which conducted the survey Singapore's 100 Leading Graduate Employers (S100).


While the sector may be gaining steam among graduates, a majority of students still keep a lookout for various factors that would make an employer or an organisation the ideal choice. Of 13,874 respondents, 76 per cent highlighted that moral and ethical factors play an integral role in their decision-making process.


The findings have not changed much over the years. Previous surveys have shown that graduates tend to make career decisions that correspond with their personal values and principles.


On the flip side, according to Mr Hee, employers are stressing the need for current students and graduates to work on soft skills such as communication, teamwork and problem-solving, as well as develop a sense of curiosity and an appetite for learning.


He highlights that the key to developing soft skills for success lies in the pursuit of the unknown.


"Do things that are genuinely interesting and fun for no other reason than having a good story to tell later on. Do things that scare you now," he says.


"When you put yourself out there and are constantly trying new things, you'll pick up lots of useful soft skills in the process.


"The best weapon for dealing with a constantly changing world is a keenly-sharpened spirit of curiosity."


These are the top five factors graduates consider during their job search:


1. Good career prospects - These offer assurance that there are opportunities for promotion and professional growth.

2. Positive employer leadership - Effective and principled leaders are more likely to motivate their staff to excel in their work.

3. Opportunities for personal development - These help to develop skill sets, be it soft skills or personal interests, beyond one's job scope.

4. Appreciation at work - Receiving recognition for putting in effort at work offers great job satisfaction.

5. Friendly colleagues - This, and a positive and collaborative environment that is free from office politics, is ideal for bringing out the best in everyone to succeed.


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© 2019 by GTI Media Singapore