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The top six things young business professionals demand in a new role


A global survey by the Global Alliance in Management Education (CEMS) examined the top priorities of 761 recent CEMS business graduates from 49 countries. When they seek a new role, apart from salary or work-life balance, career progression and the chance to make an impact at an early stage are  two of their top priorities.

Business graduates’ top six job-seeking criteria are:

  1. Salary (471)
  2. Work/life balance (405)
  3. Opportunities for quick career progression (390)
  4. Making an impact at an early stage (291)
  5. Travel opportunities
  6. Inspirational leadership
A quarter of respondents expect to reach an executive level role in five years or less, while 75% expect to have achieved this level within 10 years.

“These ambitious young professionals are creative and optimistic, and are always seeing an opportunity in change,” said Roland Siegers, executive director of CEMS.

“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 a competitive advantage in an uncertain age.

“This means giving young people plenty of opportunities to tackle projects that deliver real global impact as early as possible in their career journey, while also recognising their need to have a life outside of work.”

To increase their foothold in the workplace, respondents consider social skills (persuasion, emotional intelligence and empathy) as the most important, followed by people management skills (team leadership and motivation).

Hard skills such as formal qualifications, data analysis or cognitive abilities are considered relatively trivial compared with soft skills.

The CEMS Global Alliance includes 31 academic institutions from every continent, 71 corporate partners and seven social partners from around the world.

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