College-Aged Job Seekers Embrace Remote Work

Nearly 70% of college-aged adults are likely to consider a job that is entirely remote, less than 20% would consider a position that doesn’t offer a remote work option.

U.S. college-aged job seekers are embracing remote work in their career transition plans, according to a new survey from Velocity Global. The College to Career Survey examined 1,000 college-aged respondents’ attitudes on remote work and their work-life balance expectations as they prepare to transition into the workforce.

“The next generation wants to work remotely, balance their ‘personal’ and ‘work’ lives, and prioritize flexibility and mental well-being. Companies should take notice: The old way of doing business is over,” said Sarah Fern, chief people officer at Velocity Global. “Put simply, students want the flexibility to work with anyone, anywhere, anytime, and they expect employers to meet them where they are.”

college-age job seekers
(Photo: Adobe Stock by daniilvolkov)

According to the remote work survey:

  • 69% of job seekers are somewhat or extremely likely to consider a job that is entirely remote
  • 80% of students would consider taking less money for their job if it allowed a remote option
  • The majority (57%) say being remote increases their productivity
  • Nine out of 10 respondents report work-life balance as being either the most important factor (53%) or a somewhat important factor (37%) in selecting a career
  • Fewer than 1 in 5 (18%) say they prefer to work from an office five days per week
  • Fewer than half (44%) of respondents plan to have a traditional (Monday-Friday, 9-to-5) in-person job, and 1 out of 4 (23%) never expect to hold a traditional office job

The survey also found a large impact on the emotional well-being of respondents as a result of the move to remote work and learning over the last several years. For example:

  • 56% of respondents acknowledged remote work/study negatively impacted their mental health “a lot” (14%) or “somewhat” (42%)
  • 86% reported a high level of stress or anxiety about entering the workforce, including 35% who indicated they are “very” anxious about entering the workforce, and an additional 51% said they are “somewhat” anxious about doing so

The next generation wants to work remotely, balance their ‘personal’ and ‘work’ lives, and prioritize flexibility and mental well-being. Companies should take notice: The old way of doing business is over.”

~ Sarah Fern, Velocity Global

Additionally, an overwhelming majority of students intend to supplement their primary job with a side gig: 85% of respondents said they either definitely (27%) or possibly (58%) expect to have a side gig in addition to their primary job.

“That number is staggering, and the C-suite needs to harness the possibilities of tomorrow’s workforce who have varied interests, skills, and allegiances,” said Fern. “Talent is telling us how they will succeed, and it includes full-time, part-time, contract, and freelance work — and sometimes a combination of these. It is entirely possible for you to get the best from your talent while they also pursue other interests. It works for both of you.”

The international survey also gathered input from 500 students and recent graduates in the UK and 500 in Brazil, with similar results:

  • 72% in the UK said they would consider an entirely remote position, and 85% in Brazil said the same
  • 84% of respondents in the UK and 82% in Brazil said they would be willing to consider a position that paid less money if it offered the flexibility to work from anywhere

“These trends with college students and recent graduates in the U.S. are mirrored in other parts of the world, highlighting the accessibility of a global workforce,” said Fern. “In the U.K. and Brazil — where Velocity Global clients increasingly seek supported talent — work flexibility is seen as one of the most compelling factors considered when entering the job market.”

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