Workplace practices and ethical standards among top career priorities for female students, while males seek high future salaries and career progression – new research

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  • Males are more likely to choose salary and future earnings as career preference
  • Female students place higher value on ethics and workplace morals when choosing a career
  • Job security increases in importance for both male and female students in 2021
  • Universum Director: “Implementing a compelling employer brand requires thoughtful consideration and employers who are prepared to commit resources into understanding the nuances and values of the different demographics and reflecting these nuances in their company culture.”

Male students are more likely to value monetary remuneration and career progression when seeking out a prospective employer compared to their female counterparts, according to research from global employer branding experts Universum, part of e-recruitment platform IrishJobs.ie.

The research, which was conducted among 10,043 students across business, IT, engineering, natural sciences, humanities, law, and health in Ireland, reveals that male students ranked high future earnings (1st), a clear path for advancement (4th), a competitive base salary (5th) and professional training and development (6th) amongst their top career preferences this year.

In comparison, female students ranked secure employment (1st), ethical standards (4th), respect for employees (5th) and having an inspiring purpose (6th) in the same positions.

A friendly work environment ranked as one of the most common considerations for both cohorts, ranking in the top three employment preferences for both groups.

Increasing importance of job security

Job security has also become one of the most important career attributes for students this year, following the fall out of the Covid-19 pandemic.

Both male and female students ranked ‘secure employment’ in their top three career preferences this year, marking an increase in rankings for both groups when compared to 2020.

According to the data, female students are more likely to consider job security as a career preference when compared to their male counterparts, ranking it as their top consideration this year [2021: 1st place vs 2020: 2nd place]. 

However, secure employment has evidently grown in importance for males also, entering their top three employment preferences for the first time this year [2021: 2nd vs 2020: 4th].

2021 Top Career Preferences Among Irish Students

 All studentsFemaleMale
1)High Future EarningsSecure EmploymentHigh future earnings
2)Secure EmploymentA friendly work environmentSecure employment
3)A friendly work environmentHigh future earningsA friendly work environment
4)Professional training and developmentEthical standardsClear path for advancement
5)Clear path for advancementRespect for its peopleCompetitive base salary
6)Encouraging work-life balanceInspiring purposeProfessional training and development
7)Respect for its peopleProfessional training and developmentEncouraging work-life balance
8)Ethical StandardsClear path for advancementInnovation
9)Inspiring purposeEncouraging work-life balanceRespect for its people
10)Flexible working conditionsInspiring leadershipLeaders who will support my development

Insight

Steve Ward, UK, and Ireland Business Director for Universum said:

“Our robust research, which was conducted during the Covid-19 pandemic, shines a light on the evolving aspirations of the young talent in Ireland, a cohort that employers are keen to attract. However, as the jobs market in Ireland begins to recover, it is becoming increasingly evident that the needs and desires of this talent pool have shifted.

“Perhaps unsurprisingly, one of the main considerations for students this year is job security, with both male and female students ranking this in their top three career attributes. 

“However, despite being united on the importance of secure employment in the current environment, there is an evident discrepancy between the motivations of male and female students overall.

“According to the data, female students are drawn towards workplace culture and practices, while males tend to preference salary and career progression. For employers who are striving to improve the gender balance in their workforce, it is important that they understand the varying motivations of both cohorts.

“Furthermore, implementing a compelling employer brand requires thoughtful consideration and employers who are prepared to commit resources into understanding the nuances and values of the different demographics and reflecting these nuances in their company culture.  Critically, this means integrating these values into the DNA of the business in a meaningful and authentic way, as opposed to just allowing them to merely live in an employee brochure.”

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