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‘Graduates get workplace satisfaction’ says CIPD report


Graduates are very happy in the workplace and confident about their future prospects, a nationwide survey commissioned by the Chartered Institute of Personnel and Development (CIPD) has found. The survey, which canvassed the views of 752 graduates who graduated in 2000, during July and August 2001, showed that 87% feel secure in their job while 92% are positive about their career prospects.

The survey also shows that the equal pay gap begins early. Male graduates are twice as likely to earn a salary above £25,000 as their female counterparts while for every five women earning between £10,000 – £15,000 there are just three men.

However, career prospects rather than money is the most important consideration when choosing a job. 65% of graduates said that getting on the career ladder was the most important reason for accepting the first job while 6% cited student debt and 7% highlighted salary level.

Commenting on the findings, Gerwyn Davies, the report’s author says, “The survey shows that graduates are being well looked after in their first year of work, which is reflected by the positive outlook and high satisfaction levels among graduates. It remains to be seen whether this might change as organisations struggle to cope with the economic downturn, both from a financial and human resource perspective”.

Davies concludes, “It is encouraging to see that employers are responding to the growing needs of graduates as consumers. The challenge for all organisations is to maintain high standards in difficult times, especially given the proven link between good people management and a company’s bottom line”.

Key findings:

Workplace satisfaction

  • Work is a positive experience for the majority, 60% of men said they were “very positive” about their career prospects, compared with 48% of women Four times as many graduates say that the experience of work has been better than expected as those who say that it has been worse (39% versus 10%) A substantial majority feel at least moderately happy with nearly every aspect of work, including job status, work-life balance, flexible dress code, etc.


  • Newly-employed graduates are generally successful at salary re-negotiating, 84% of attempts are successful
  • The majority (60%) of respondents received a starting salary of between £15,000 and £20,000
  • Almost twice as many men cited salary level as the most important reason for accepting their first job (9% versus 5%). Women were also more likely to accept the first job offer (71% versus 61%) and feel more disappointed with their first salary

Job selection

  • Over a third said that a company’s ethical reputation would not influence their job decision at all, including 40% of all men
  • Three times as many women cited relationships with colleagues as the main reason for staying in their current job (9% versus 3%); while 29% of men would leave their current job for financial reasons principally, compared with 18% of women
  • Being male and having a first-class degree offers the best chance of finding a job quickly. However, those with better grades were less likely to have started straight away than those with lower grades. 24% of graduates with first-class degrees started straight away, compared with 35% of those with third-class degrees

Job retention

  • Most (80%) respondents were still in their first job at the time of the interview, this being more likely the case for men (84%) than women (76%). Those who had moved worked for 6.6 months on average – slightly higher for men (6.8 months) than women (6.4 months). Men are also more likely to intend to stay in the job longer than women (2.6 years versus 2.2 years)
  • A quarter do not intend to leave for at least 5 years. This was more likely among men (29%) than women (21%).
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