EY Poll: Students Pick Challenging Jobs Over Fame or Fortune

A poll of nearly 800 college and university students conducted by Ernst & Young shows many students are confident about their financial prospects despite the shaky economy, and most value the ability to grow and learn in their jobs more than the opportunity to gain fame or fortune.

Highlights of the results:

  • 81% of the students expect to be better off than their parents, and 59% expect to become millionaires in their lifetime.
  • For most students, the No. 1 workplace goal is to continue to learn and grow (39%), perform meaningful work (25%), and become an influential leader (23%). Only a few chose the ability to earn a lot of money (15%) or become well-known (1%)
  • The students' biggest personal priorities are family (39%), an advanced degree (33%), and friends and social life (21%).
  • Most expect pressures related to balancing their personal and professional lives. But they don't blame the clients of accounting firms. Instead, most expect the pressure will come from themselves (54%), their peers, colleagues or supervisors (26%), or their spouse or partner (15%).

The survey was conducted at the recent Ernst & Young International Intern Leadership Conference in Orlando, Florida. Commenting on the results, EY's James Freer said, "Young people today are entering the workforce with a strong sense of confidence in themselves despite an uncertain economic outlook, and we feel their determination to succeed is very promising."

-Rosemary Schlank


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