New college grads don’t care about good jobs so much as good pay

Pay day yet?
Pay day yet?
Image: Reuters/Akhtar Soomro
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A fresh wave of college graduates enters the workforce this summer. They’re young, energized, ready to work—and also likely buried in debt.

It’s no wonder, then, that a high salary is the most-prioritized quality in a job for this demographic. Toptal, an online freelancing marketplace, surveyed 1,000 recent graduates across the US on what they’re most looking for in their first job—and the answer is money.

Four times as many graduates said they care about good pay as those who said they want opportunities for quick promotions.

Additionally, 59% of new college grads said they plan to start searching for work right away, while only 21% said they want to—or perhaps simply have the luxury to—take a few months off before entering the workforce.

Some caveats: Toptal’s survey is modestly sized, and there’s an abundance of (often contradictory) claims out there about what young people want most out of their first jobs.

But the company’s finding that salary is more of a focus than anything else, more than the actual benefits or skills to be gained from a job, highlights just how important money has come to be for today’s new graduates. While millennials are often characterized as an impatient generation hunting for quick payoffs and instant gratification, the crushing student loans that many of them face may be something of an explanation for that.