New Grads Strut their Employment Self Confidence

May 9, 2006 ( - No one can accuse this year's college grad crop of lacking in confidence, as a new survey finds many certain they will soon find a job in their desired field at a good starting salary.

Data from a new Yahoo! HotJobs nationwide survey, according to a news release, showed that more than two-thirds of those surveyed (69%) believe they will have a full-time job within three months of graduation, up from about half (52%) in 2005.

Not only that, more than two-thirds of those people are optimistic they will find that full-time job in their chosen field and more than half believe they will earn more than $50,000 their first year.

“The unemployment rate has dropped over the last several years, and based on the survey results, it appears that college graduates are more confident they will find the jobs they want,” said Susan Vobejda, Yahoo! HotJobs vice president of marketing, in the news release. “Graduates sense they can benefit from the labor crunch to negotiate better starting salaries. Employers who take the time to understand the graduates’ perspectives will benefit the most as they prepare to attract the best and brightest from the class of 2006.”

The HotJobs poll also found that only 28% of those surveyed said that a good work-life balance is at the top of their list when searching for a job. The majority (60%) ranked their desire to work for a reputable company as one of the top three motivational drivers.

Other factors included:

  • a strong starting salary (58%),
  • a well-defined career path (56%), and
  • location (46%)

The new grads also appear not to be short on flexibility. The poll found that for those who are unable to find full-time work in their chosen field as quickly as they expected, more than half (53%) said they would either take a temporary job or a full-time position in a different field. Only one in 10 would hold out for a full-time position in their first choice field, and the remainder of respondents would volunteer, intern or were unsure about next steps.

The survey also found that finance, communications (marketing/advertising/ public relations), and health care are the hottest fields being pursued by soon-to-be-graduates this year and that interest may be waning in retail and sales positions.

Whether they are working in their chosen industry or not, most college seniors understand that an executive slot may be on the other end of a series of promotions. More than two-thirds (68%) think they will have to start at the bottom in terms of responsibility and then work their way up, while 28% believed they would be working on the company’s most important projects right away.