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Global economic instability: Leading students look further than pay and benefits

In a KPMG survey of over 300 business students from leading universities and business schools in 27 different countries, conducted in conjunction with the KPMG International Case Competition (KICC), 89 percent of students said they were prepared to move countries regularly for the right job, demonstrating that today’s business students are coming into the workforce with a global mindset.

A majority of leading business students (60 percent) are worried that another Global Financial Crisis would significantly impact their career prospects when they enter the workforce. Just under half (46%) of those surveyed also think that current global instability will make it harder for them to find a job once they finish their studies.

The KPMG survey sought to understand the expectations and drivers of today’s leading business students – tomorrow’s business leaders. In addition to the students’ concerns about global instability, and a clear willingness to travel for the right job, they were also very clear that they are looking for rewards from their career that go beyond pay and benefits. The vast majority of students (89 percent) said it was important that the work they do in the future ‘drives positive and sustainable change in society’. An even greater majority (92 percent) said it was important that the organisation they work for contributes to a better world. A further sign that today’s top talent is taking a much broader view when deciding which organisation to work for.

Sixty seven percent of the students said they had a clear idea of which profession they wanted to work in once they finish their studies. The most popular choices of the business-focused students were ‘finance’ (44 percent) and ‘professional services’ (23 percent). Despite only ten percent selecting ‘technology’ as their chosen profession, 66 percent said they thought that this industry would be the most successful over the next 20 years.

Rachel Campbell, Global Head of People, KPMG International said: “The survey results echo my own experience talking to top graduate talent. This generation understands that the global economic outlook remains challenging and is looking globally for the right career opportunities to match their ambition and abilities.  These graduates won’t be happy being tied to one role or one country for their entire career,  and many could go on to have two or three different careers – any organisation that can genuinely offer multiple careers in many different countries has an opportunity to differentiate itself. This makes it very important that business offers mobility as well as a variety of career paths.”

A special feature of the "KPMG Laboratory" is its occupational guidance. "Today's ambitious and talented students are the future of KPMG. These are the ones with whom we will work tomorrow or in a few years.

A special feature of the “KPMG Laboratory” is its occupational guidance. “Today’s ambitious and talented students are the future of KPMG. These are the ones with whom we will work tomorrow or in a few years.

Only 23 percent of students thought it was ‘somewhat likely’ or ‘very likely’ that they would work for the same company for their entire career, with 27 percent thinking it was ‘not likely at all’. Nearly all of the students (94 percent) felt that having an extensive global network was an important part of building a good career.

Iain McLaughlin, Head of Global Talent, KPMG International said: “Competition for top talent is intensifying across all sectors; it has never been more important for employers to understand what graduates are looking for. While students may have a clear idea of the profession they want to work in, they are also prepared to be very analytical in choosing the right organization for them and will not be afraid to move firms or even geography to find the right opportunity.”

The KPMG International Case Competition (KICC) final is taking place this week in Dubai. Teams of four students from 28 countries are competing in challenges to review and develop solutions to a number of business case studies.  Run over the course of four days, teams will be judged by a panel of senior KPMG Partners. This year, the event is being held in association with Emirates, headquartered in Dubai and one of the most dynamic and innovative airlines in the world.

About Femi Oke

Relentless passion for creativity and digital acumen to help a professional services firm thrive in the digital space. Femi is an individual with a rich experience on regional African knowledge, its diverse business culture and he understands the continent’s economic drive. He thrives on selfless service and lasting mutually beneficial relationships with colleagues and especially clients encountered in the course of his duties. He is creative, practical and self-motivated with business judgement in corporate, brand and strategic communications, social, digital & traditional media and executive profiling. Roles in the firm include New Media, Digital Communication, Corporate Communication, executive profiling and Brand Management execution. Working on the multi-million dollar Africa high growth market project stands out for femi; besides this, managing all KPMG’s digital communication for the World Economic Forum on Africa is another project that gives him great delight. Femi holds a Masters Degree in Global Marketing from the University of Liverpool.

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