Students put work/life balance ahead of intellectual challenge

Students value work/life balance over job security or being intellectually challenged, a survey has found.

Global branding agency Universum surveyed 2,400 law students and 600 legal professionals, asking which career goals were most important to them and what qualities were most attractive in potential employers.  Students were able to list up to three qualities per section as being important to them.

Work/life balance was listed as the most important career goal (54 per cent), followed by feeling stable and secure in a role (49 per cent) and being intellectually challenged (47 per cent). The least desirable career goals were being autonomous (16 per cent) and becoming a technical expert (7 per cent).

When asked which reputational factors were most attractive in an employer, students listed ethical standards as being key (40 per cent). Interestingly, environmental sustainability and corporate social responsibility only attracted 11 per cent and 19 per cent of those surveyed, indicating perhaps that students see ethical standards as more far-reaching than CSR and environmental impact. Prestige and financial strength were both key to 39 per cent of respondents while inspiring management was ranked as important by 32 per cent.

Supportive leaders (43 per cent), a friendly environment (42 per cent) and a creative and dynamic environment (40 per cent) were seen as the most important ‘people and cultural’ factors. Meanwhile, support for gender equality (16 per cent) and acceptance towards minorities (15 per cent) were generally seen as unimportant, perhaps demonstrating that students see themselves as immune to these issues.

Students took a long view when it came to remuneration and advancement opportunities. More than half (54 per cent) said that a clear path for advancement and high future earnings were key while rapid promotion and overtime pay came in last with just 14 per cent and 11 per cent of respondents listing them as important factors.