Deciding where to apply


According to a survey published by the Guardian last week, when it comes to making career decisions graduates are now more interested in work/life balance, flexible working options and companies’ corporate social responsibility programmes, than traditional methods used by employers to attract employees, such as high salaries, career development prospects and job security.

Apparently our generation of graduates have been termed “generation y” and employers are at a loss when it comes to the best way to recruit us!

…what are the most important things you look for in a company when you make job applications? …something that wasn’t really mentioned in the survey was reputation of the company - is this important to you? …and when you get job offers, do you still worry about CSR, etc or are you just happy to have been offered a job?


I know that when I apply for jobs I think about the company’s CSR programmes and how much flexi-time they’ll give, but frankly when it comes to the job offers stage I just the best option from what I’ve been offered! I wouldn’t turn a job down on an employer’s flexi-time programmes!


I’d love to work for a company that gave me time-off whenever I wanted and helped small farmers in Brazil, but I know in reality this is unlikely. This is why I think surveys like this aren’t entirely useful - they ask graduates what they want, not what they really expect. If you asked me what I wanted I’d say I’d like to be a rockstar, but if you ask me what I expect I’d say an accountant.


I think this whole thing about modern day graduates “wanting more” is a load of rubbish. Graduates just want to be treated fairly… We’re the first generation who want time-off, shorter working hours and companies to have CSR policies - well of course we are! We’re the first generation in history that’s been allowed to question employers and been given the real information on what they’re doing by the media. We’ve seen our parents working 8am - 10pm, working weekends, and working for companies who don’t seem to give a damn about their polluting/social responsibility records, etc, etc (e.g. Shell). Well this isn’t good enough, is it? It’s no surprise modern graduates want to be treated a little better than this. The problem isn’t with modern graduates wanting more, the problem is that companies have given so little, for so long…

If companies have a problem with modern graduates wanting these things then they have a very big problem, because these aren’t things that a “want it all” generation wants - they are things that this generation expects, and I think rightly so.


“Generation Y” is just another sign that employers have no idea what they’re talking about when it comes to recruiting. Isn’t the whole point of this generation all about how everyon is an individual? We all want different things. If employers understod us even the slightest little bit, they wouldn’t need to classify us into boxes. We’re all individual people. All we want is for employers to tell the truth so that we can mak the choices that suit us best. I’m fed up with posters of smiling graduates wearing shorts and sitting on desks in offices advertising things like big 4 accounting grad schemes. This might be a good way of getting more applications, but not a good way of geting the right candidates.


Interesting responses - does anyone really consider CSR (corporate social responsibility) or the work/life balance they’ll get at a company, when making their applications? Is this more important to you than, for example, money/salary?


It’s important but not as important as cash and training. Besides, many companies like PwC or KPMG have very little impact on the environment, beyond consumption of pencils.


For me career growth is more important thing, not money, time off some importance. But career growth in short time, If I have to work hard for 4-5 years and go up the career ladder quickly then I don’t mind.


Interesting. Why is career growth the most important thing for you? Because of the money you could be earning? …or perhaps the power over a team, etc?


My parents, particularly my Mum, worked phenomenally long hours. I remember on one project that lasted a year my Mum worked 7 days a week without a break for a year. They still do work long hours. They’ve always taught us that if you enjoy your job, it’s a bonus, but, generally, work isn’t something to be enjoyed, it is to be endured. so just get on with it and do what is asked of you, no matter what an uphill climb it is. That has stuck somehow. I’m the youngest. My older brother and sister seem to have adopted the ‘just get your head down and get on with it’ attitude.


Career growth gives you everything you want. Money, Time, Status, Power etc. I want to see myself leading a team, delegating and training the new starters. Big4 is a good starting point for it. The first three years will be the slowest but eventually the qualification will make it easy to further climb on a career ladder quicker.


…interesting that most people consider career progression and company reputation as the most important factors in deciding on jobs.


Company reputation is an important factor but not much, I know a guy, who joined a very small training firm, passed his ACA and then went to big 4. S first thing I want ACA on my CV then apply to top firms. So, am also going to Mazars Dubai on training contract. May be after getting qualified, career growth and money are correlated isn’t? Partner earn more than senior auditors but same time if I just move around the firms just due to high salary my CV will not look good. So a steady start, then good stop or two, they try for top positions.


Sounds good Zulkfal. Well done on getting in to [[Mazars]]. Was the interview process for Mazars Dubai the same as the Wiki profile for Mazars UK?


Nop much easier, No stupid on line testing or these type of things, I was first interviewed by Senior Accountant, then by partner and offer done less competency based questions but more about why Mazars UAe, why not big 4 in UK, Why ACA why not CFA (have studied Economics and Finance BSc and MSc). I was clear with Partner told him I need a work permit to work in UK, (And my personal reason for accepting offer was influenced by Deloitte, during their insight course application process, I filled two different applications with different names mine and another (one of my friend advised, so just did) , application with fake name was less competitive then me but was welcomed for further process but I was refused) I have 400 (converted by my UNI) UCAS points, 2:1 (68%) BSc, and MSc Merit (69.1%) the fake applicant 320 UCAS, 2:1 (61%) and MSc Pass 57%. universities and courses were same. So, I don’t want to take risk and wait till October may be same thing happen again. Plus I experienced the same type of thing with PWC. I was offered a place to Insight course and asked to call for convenient place and location when called a man said we are full. Received an e-mail four days after calling that PWC is still waiting for my call, Sent them an e-mail and found 80% places are available in my chosen location and the person who told me never put a note that I called for reserving my place. So that’s all therefore I will go in Mazars UAE may be join Big 4 in middle east later on.


PWC is more reputed actually to have smooth operations and diverse culture. From your post I can say that, there is clearly a communication problem among their departments or employees.

A bird in hand is better than two on the bush. Go for Mazars. Do your ACA and if you need work permit to come back to the UK you will have your HSMP later or relocate your office within Mazars as you get your ACA. Good luck.


I’ve had similar problems with PwC. They are such a big company, with so many people that it seems internal communication is problematic. I called to ask a question, was passed to a few different departments and then asked to email someone who was away from their desk. I emailed my question but didn’t hear anything for three weeks. Then I finally got a reply, which I noticed had been forward from person to person to person, asking me to call them back!

Zulkfal, I imagine PwC rejecting you was probably an internal communication error like Londonbloke suggests, although this is still pretty bad of them.

Regarding Deloitte - that’s really interesting. Are you suggesting that they rejected your real application in favour of the less good ‘fake’ application, because you didn’t have a work permit… or because they just made a mistake?


nop I have a HSMP. But PWC never rejected they offered me place, but asked me to call for convenient location and place, when I first called they said that all insight days are full. But on e-mail reply I was offer a location. So, am not saying PWC went wrong but if same error again then I am no where. PWC and EY are the only companies I will like to work from big 4. But these mistakes can effact some one’s future. Think if its a graduate position and I never received an e-mail. PWC is ethically very good and professional and set examples for other firms.


Hi Z

So why do you think Deloitte rejected you for insight? Do you think this was a mistake on their part or that it was because your real application was too good perhaps?


am average student. they should have some reason which they said can’t tell me. In my opinion may be after studying Economics, Finance and Econometrics going for ACA will raise question that may be I will leave after passing ACA for consulting or IB positions as number of finance or economics graduate do, they would like student which they think will work with them in future. That’s what I thought, I am not saying they are wrong first step in professional arena is most important for a fresh graduate and firm giving this exposure bear risk and the pay they pay us in first year is just to study, a GCSE can go and count stock and normal person with small qualification can match sheets, these firms are investing in us with a believe that we will generate profit for them on their initial investment. If they have a 10% doubt that I will leave after gaining the experience, Then they are right. Simply will you buy HBOS pref share for £2.75 when share in market is priced at £2.39. I will not do then how can I expect someone else to do it. May be this explain every thing plus there are less places in insight days compared to graduate positions and if someone thought racism then I believe if I am good private or PLC will take me. Racism is just an excuse by people who are not that good and I have believe in my self that am good and if try will get a position in Big 4, but there is a small risk as someone mentioned above one bird in hand is better than two in bush.