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Grandes Ecoles profiles “ready” to sacrifice a salary for a committed job

71% of students from French Grandes Ecoles would accept a more precarious job if it was meaningful, much more than 63% in 2021. Same momentum on the alumni side (on average 12 years of experience) with two thirds ready to make the jump. This is revealed by the 5th edition of the barometer* “Talents, what they expect from their jobs”, produced by Ipsos, BCG and the Conférence des grandes écoles. And with good reason, as the climate crisis topped the list of concerns for 77% of respondents (ahead of geopolitical tensions and social inequalities).

Disclaimer: we must be right about the term “precarious” because the respondents are all BAC+5 graduates from Grandes Ecoles (engineering, commerce, architecture, IEP, etc.). These students know that they can take “risks” by going freelance or by accepting a fixed-term contract (when they are not running from the permanent contract!) and fall back on their feet if the experience is not decisive. It must be said that the good health in the labor market is also particularly favorable for them.

“The new generation is now ready to make radical decisions such as leaving a job with no other options because it no longer corresponds to their values”notes Jean-Michel Caye, senior associate director at BCG.

Half ready to lower their salary to align work and values

They are also 50% to consider accepting a reduction in their remuneration of 5% to 20% to align work and values. “Young graduates who travel to structures with limited profits earn a salary on average 15% to 20% lower than the rest of the market”, notes the expert. What to curb some inclinations…

But corporate values, whether social or ecological, are becoming increasingly important. This is shown by the increase in the number of alumni who believe that the lack of conformity with them could be a reason to resign: they are 82% this year to consider it, or +10 points in two years.

The first criteria for job selection, however, remain the interest in the position, the atmosphere and well-being at work and the balance between work and private life.

New vision of success

Responding to this quest for engagement, three-quarters of students and young workers want to work in the environmental field. A business sector closely followed by deals related to energy, a position that has been unchanged for two years.

Above all, students and graduates expect sincere and credible commitments from employers. The context of polycrisis pushes them to act, and they perceive their employment as a lever to move the lines.

Brice Teinturier, Deputy Managing Director of IPSOS

More generally, contributing to a positive change of society during their professional life is the reason for pride in pole position, far ahead of career success or salary: 40% of students put this factor first.

Students are more attracted to large groups than their elders

But the gap between desires and reality widens as each person progresses. “After ten years of professional life, you also have many more costs to cover, children etc. », explains Jean-Michel Caye. Active workers are more likely than students not to consider reducing their pay at all in exchange for more engagement (37% vs. 23%).

But the latter are more likely than students to want to work in an impact company or even start their own business. Students are more attracted to large groups. “Many say that big business has a role to play, that it is big business that can have an influence”, developer Jean-Michel Caye. In 2021, 88% believed they had the ability to change things.

“Demand is increasing”

Alumni are far less likely to believe that the “change from within” approach is the right one to achieve more commitment from companies on social or environmental issues.

It is better than 10 years ago, the respondents almost agree. But that is not enough. 77% of students believe that large companies are not engaged enough (well up from 65% in 2021), compared to 63% for alumni. “The demand level is increasing. What was considered proof of commitment two years ago is no longer so today. And the bar will continue to rise”analyzes Jean-Michel Caye.

*This barometer was conducted among 2,269 people (1,041 students and 1,228 former students) from 131 schools.

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