The Class of 2023 is less interested in big-name employers

A collection of data on the newest entrants to the workforce.
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· less than 3 min read

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Today’s generation is different. This isn’t a “kids these days” rant, but rather an appreciation of what these kids have been through.

The vast majority of graduates entering the workforce out of the class of 2023 entered school before Covid-19, finished the majority of it under lockdown and other pandemic precautions, and lost out on a ton of seminal growth experiences, both socially and professionally.

As a result, college seniors’ work preferences are evolving, and now trending away from big-name employers, according to recent research from Handshake, an early-career recruiting platform. The report wrote that “with layoffs and inflation top of mind, [the class of 2023 is] focused on practical bottom-line benefits—like stability and starting salary.”

This cohort is also applying to more jobs, 14 on average compared to 11 last year, and widening the industries in their job search in response to news about the economy, according to Handshake. They’re likely widening their job searches due to perceptions that the market is tighter than in 2022 or earlier years.


The survey also found that this group overwhelmingly prefers hybrid work, with 72% stating that as their preference compared to fully remote or fully in-office. A majority of college seniors (61%) also said they believe in-person work can benefit their careers.

The youths also offer a tech proficiency that more experienced professionals may not have. Handshake found that 82% of the class of 2023 with non-tech majors has experience with one or more technical skill, and 73% of non-tech majors plan to develop at least one of these skills, such as data analysis, UI/UX design, IT, or software engineering, in the next few years.

ChatGPT is among the most sought-after tech skills right now, and according to recruiting platform iCims, 25% of college seniors said they used ChatGPT or some sort of AI for their résumé or cover letter.

The class of 2023 is also looking to be compensated fairly for these abilities. The iCims report found that male graduates expect an average salary of $70,625, $5,700 more than their female counterparts, and 43% of college seniors overall said they would not apply for a job if the salary range was not posted.

HR is challenging. HR news doesn’t have to be.

News built to help HR pros grow their impact & improve the future of work.