Graduates Want to Make a Difference

Graduates in 2012 want to make a difference with the skills and knowledge they’ve gained at university, says a recent study carried out by management consulting firm Hay Group. In fact, as much as 51% of recent university students stated that ‘whether or not a job would make positive difference to world’ would be among one of deciding factors when it comes to looking for employment. And though the job market is in no way saturated with this brand of happy-go-lucky opportunities to keep up with graduate demand, the study has made me think a little differently as to how best to attract graduate-calibre talent to a company.

What Graduates Want

Of course, no-one wants to work for Dr Evil (except maybe me, I’ve always fancied one of those board-rooms where you can plunge fellow employees into a steaming pit of a lava at the push of a button), and be branded a monstrous corporate cog; but the reality is such that not every job on the market comes with a free glowing halo to wear over your head.

The trouble is that the gap between reality and student expectation (in the UK job market) is somewhat of a gaping chasm, meaning a lot of graduates enter the market with a significantly picky mind-set. So then, we must be a little more astute when it comes to job-appeal and targeting graduates to fill a particular role.

It’s all in the Job Description

The best course of action would be to think like a graduate – what would they want from the job? Of course, they may be expected to be ‘a competent Excel user, with good analytical skills in a bid to increase the sales of a new energy drink product’. But if you flip the coin, a much more appealing description would be the ‘requirement to use their analytical and Excel  wizardry to help as many of our British athletes find out about our amazing new energiser drink’! Talk about making a difference (who wouldn’t want to help our athletes in the wake of a hugely successful Olympic triumph?)!


Universities may be pumping out graduates more often than ever, but the current state of the UK job market isn’t enough make students forget about their principles. If employment-seeking graduates want to make a positive difference to the world, then let them – all it takes is a little re-think in order to keep them interested!

Get it across in your job advert that they’ll be pulling levers which determine the very fate of something immensely important, and you’ll be well on your way to landing your prize!