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Study Reveals Salary Not the Most Important Factor for Students When Deciding Where to Work


Award-Winning Research Study by Trent University Professor Ed Ng Explores What Business Students Look for in a First Job

Thursday, August 23, 2007, Peterborough

Top Ten Factors Business Students Consider When Choosing Employers:

  • Opportunities for advancement
  • Good training opportunities, and the chance to develop new skills
  • Good people to work with (coworkers)
  • Good people to report to (supervisors)
  • Challenging work
  • Good initial starting salary
  • Work - life balance
  • Job security
  • Opportunities to make a personal impact
  • Good health and benefits plan

An award-winning research study conducted by assistant professor Ed Ng from the Business Administration program at Trent University, and co-authored by Professor Ronald Burke at York University, has delivered some surprising findings about what today’s business students want from employers when considering their first jobs.

“Contrary to popular belief, students did not rank compensation as the most important factor when accepting their first jobs. In fact it was ranked in sixth place,” explained Prof. Ng, who, in addition to his teaching and research activities at Trent, is also the chair of the Gender and Diversity in Organizations division of the Administrative Sciences Association of Canada, an association of management professors in Canada. 

According to the study, which was recently selected as a Highly Commended winner at the 2007 Emerald Literati Network Awards for Excellence, the most important thing business students look for from potential employers was having opportunities for career advancement. Prof. Ng also noted that an employer’s commitment to social responsibility came in second last in the rankings, in thirteenth place.

Prof. Ng’s paper, entitled “The next generation at work: Business students views, values and job search strategy implications for universities and employers”, explores the career expectations and job search behaviours of the next generation of workers (more popularly termed "Generation Y"). The study was commissioned by a consortium of 30 large Canadian companies interested in attracting the next generation of talents. It was based upon a sample of 20,271 university and college students across Canada. The study originally appeared in the Volume 48, No. 7 issue of Education + Training, a highly regarded journal in the field of business management published by Emerald.

In response to winning a 2007 Emerald Literati Network Awards for Excellence, Prof. Ng was ecstatic, saying: “I am hoping that it will bring more realization from the community and the world that the Business Administration program at Trent is a serious academic department conducting active and important research.  Personally, it is also gratifying to have my research activities recognized at an early stage of my career.” 

Each year Emerald hosts a special ceremony for all award winners. This year, the ceremony was held in Philadelphia in August 2007, where Professor Kimberly Bates, chair of Trent’s business administration program attended on Prof. Ng’s behalf to receive the award. “Professor Ng's research award is evidence that our colleagues in the research community recognize what we have recognized all along -- he is a wonderful asset to our program,” Prof. Bates said.  “We are delighted to be able to bring excellent, cutting edge research to our students in the classroom, and we also appreciate his energy and erudition in contributing to the intellectual community within our group.”

Through these annual awards, Emerald, the world's leading English language publisher of academic and professional literature, producing over 180 journal titles covering the fields of management, information science and engineering, commemorates the efforts of authors and editors and celebrates their outstanding scholarly contributions, both to their journals and to the body of knowledge itself. 

In July, Trent’s Business Administration program received top honours from Corporate Knights as the best university in Canada for infusing social and environmental impact management into the curriculum.


For further information, please contact:

Professor Ed Ng, Business Administration program, (705) 748-1011, ext. 7620

To facilitate interviews with Prof. Ed Ng for expert commentary on topics related to employment equity/affirmative action, workforce diversity, work values, human performance and organizational effectiveness, please contact:

Brittany Cadence, Communications Officer, (705) 748-1011, ext. 6185 brittanycadence@trentu.ca