Canadian university students rank government agencies at the top of their list of organizations they want to work for when they graduate, a new survey shows.

More than 16,000 current students from colleges and universities across Canada participated in the survey, titled the From Learning to Work Report and released by DECODE and Brainstorm Consulting.

Three government agencies graced the top three rankings of places students would like to work, with the Government of Canada taking the top spot, followed by the Provincial Government of Canada and Health Canada.

Eric Meerkamper, a partner at DECODE, says the results show that the younger generation think very strategically when it comes to their careers and want to work jobs at organizations that will value them and provide stability.

“Students are frankly a lot more rational and focussed than maybe 15 years ago. They understand that if you don’t take care of your career, then you’re probably not going to have many options,” Meerkamper said.

The large number of government and non-profit agencies that made the list reveals that the younger generation wants to lead careers that provide a meaningful work experience.

“There’s an interest in doing work that has a certain amount of meaning and this demographic is looking for stability. They’re looking for a career that will provide them with fulfilling and exciting work,” Meerkamper said.

The survey also showed students are more interested in companies that offer important intangible benefits rather than simply higher wages.

Students in the survey listed interesting work as their number one consideration when choosing an employer, followed by work-life balance, good people to work with, job security and good training opportunities respectively in the top five.

A high initial salary was sixth on the list of factors students consider for a potential employer, suggesting students have a sophisticated career outlook that takes into consideration their personal, emotional and financial goals.

In essence, Canadian students want the big picture of what work-life balance entails.

“Work-life balance is about flexibility and control — it’s not just about absolute hours,” Meerkamper said.

While 62 per cent of students surveyed were “worried” about their job prospects in the current economy, 76 per cent believe employers will see them as good candidates for employment, something Meerkamper believes shows that students have confidence in their abilities and an interest in finding good jobs and maintaining them.

Latest From ...