Integrity Tops Employer Criteria for College Students

April 12, 2004 ( - One might well think that college students are most focused on the size of their potential paychecks or the security of their jobs when it comes to evaluating a potential employer. One would be wrong.

At least according to a recent survey conducted by the National Association of Colleges and Employers (NACE), students ranked “integrity of organization in its dealings with its employees” as the quality they believe is most important in an employer.

Job security and future potential certainly matters. NACE’s 2004 Graduating Student & Alumni Survey found that students ranked stability and ethical business practices second, with opportunity for advancement tied for second place.

This year’s findings represented a major surge for integrity, stability, and ethical business practices, no doubt inspired by the spate of recent corporate scandals. “These criteria were ranked similarly in last year’s survey results,” says Marilyn Mackes, NACE executive director. “However, in the 2002 and 2001 surveys, integrity was rated seventh, stability eighth, and ethical business practices ninth.

Other criteria ranked in the top 10 include:

  • a good benefits package,
  • job duties,
  • continuing education and training opportunities,
  • co-workers,
  • starting salary offer,
  • geographic location.