There's a reason why you don't know what you want to do after university

Charlie Benson
Content Marketing Executive

Graduation day is first and foremost a celebration, but it’s also a really confusing and scary time for graduates.

You’re expected to know how to answer the questions “what’s your dream job?” and “where do you see yourself in five years?” having spent the last few years in education, with little to no work experience. At the very least, you’ll spend the day surrounded by people eager to hear your response to “So, what now?” And if you answer there and then, you risk making a decision that just isn't right for you. 

Typically, when you then go on to look for graduate jobs and try to answer those questions you’re required to filter your search by industry. Do you want to work in Communications, Media, Finance or Sales and Business Development? Importantly, as you’re limiting your search to one or two industries – do you really understand what they mean and involve?




Recent research has found that the industry in which a company operates is the last thing you should be prioritising.

In a survey of graduates across multiple countries, PwC aimed to provide an insight into how graduates actually look for jobs. They asked, “Which of the following factors do you believe make an organisation an attractive employer?”

The top response was opportunities for career progression – 52% of grads across the world ranked this as an important factor in the appeal of a role, with the figure rising significantly to 62% for UK grads alone.

Competitive wages and financial incentives come in as second-most important to millennials, with 44% of grads surveyed worldwide saying they make an organisation attractive. This was closely followed by access to excellent training (35%) and good benefits packages including pensions and healthcare (31%).

Trailing far behind was “the sector in which the organisation operates” – with only 8% of millennials, in both the UK alone and across the world, selecting industry as something that made an employer attractive. 



Why? Because graduates don’t know what they want to do. And as the report shows, that is fine and very common.

PwC’s findings suggest that, perhaps, millennials just don’t know what they want to do. The industry in which a company operates is no longer a factor for graduates when choosing a job to apply for.

So, if you’re a graduate and you don’t know what your dream job or industry is – don’t worry, the majority of others don’t really know either.

A high proportion of millennials know what they want from a job and what they want their workplace to be like – they prioritise opportunities that allow for flexibility and organisations with corporate values that match their own above industry. You want to know your career is going to be nurtured and that the company you work for will facilitate that, regardless of sector. Employers are increasingly becoming aware of this and are adapting their approach to recruiting. 



Graduates are waiting to be inspired. 

Rather than forcing millennials to pigeon-hole themselves into industries when they sign up to look for jobs - GradTouch allows you to avoid choosing an industry altogether. You don't have to be sure of what you want to do, you can instead select: "inspire me". If you do so, you receive broad emails showcasing jobs in a range of industries and locations to help you work out what you're interested in.

Employers are using this as an opportunity to showcase their brand, their values and their perks and potentially attract graduates who would never have considered them previously. 

Of all students and graduates who signed up to GradTouch in the last three months, 20% selected the option to be inspired, proving that if you're still unsure about where you want graduate life to take you, you are not alone. 


GradTouch's and PwC's findings are showing a shift in the mentality of graduates on the job hunt. And finally, employers are starting to change. Stand by your values, find a company you could genuinely see yourself in, and remain open to inspiration. It's the 2017 way.



Looking for inspiration? Fill in the details below and we'll email you the latest graduate job opportunities.