‘Young people rank flexibility nearly as high as salary’

New survey shows big demand for flexible working from young people.

Working Woman


The opportunity for good work life balance/flexible working has been rated practically as important as salary when considering applying for a new role by young business graduates, according to a global survey.

In the survey, conducted by CEMS, the Global Alliance in Management Education, of 761 recent CEMS business graduates from 49 countries around the world, opportunities for quick career progression and the chance to make an impact at an early stage were also ranked highly, as the third and fourth key criteria which would influence their decision to apply for a job.

471 CEMS graduates named salary in their top three criteria when looking for a new role, followed closely by work/life balance (405), opportunities for quick career progression (390) and impact at an early stage (291). Opportunities for global travel was ranked fifth and inspirational leadership sixth, out of a number of answers graduates gave.

When asked what skills they felt will be most important as technology increases its foothold in the workplace graduates ranked social skills, for example, persuasion, emotional intelligence and empathy as most important followed by people management skills, for example, team leadership and motivation.

These were both ranked above hard skills, for example, formal qualifications, data analysis and cognitive abilities for example creativity and mathematical reasoning.

A quarter of respondents, the majority in their early twenties, would expect a new graduate to reach an executive level role in five years or less, with 75% expecting new graduates to have achieved this level within 10 years.

Roland Siegers, Executive Director of CEMS, said: “These ambitious young professionals are creative and optimistic, always seeing an opportunity in change. They crave quick career progression and the chance to make a genuine impact at an early stage. Importantly, our research adds weight to the idea that for this generation, work is not all about money – achieving a good work/life balance is more important than ever.

 “It is important that organisations listen and act on the insights of the next generation if they hope to benefit from their ambition and gain competitive advantage in an uncertain age. This means giving young people plenty of opportunity to tackle projects that deliver real global impact as early as possible on their career journey, whilst also recognising their need to have a life outside of work.”

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