Recent College Graduates Regret Not Preparing More for the "Real World," According to Adecco Survey

Majority of "Generation R" graduates wish they had applied for more jobs and started their job search earlier

Apr 27, 2011, 09:00 ET from Adecco Staffing US

MELVILLE, N.Y., April 27, 2011 /PRNewswire/ -- A vast majority (71 percent) of recent college graduates would have done something differently while in college to better prepare for the job market, according to a survey from Adecco Staffing US, part of the world's largest staffing firm. The survey was designed to understand how the economic downturn has impacted the career paths of "Generation R(ecession)" graduates - young professionals who graduated between 2006-2010, the years surrounding the Great Recession.

According to the omnibus survey conducted by Braun Research, Inc on behalf of Adecco, Generation R graduates specifically indicated they wished they had started their job search earlier (26 percent), spent more time networking (29 percent), and / or applied for more jobs (26 percent) prior to graduation. In essence, those graduating during the recession regretted not using the time they had while in college to position themselves better to seek and secure full-time employment in their chosen fields.

This regret is likely a by-product of many graduates' current employment situation. Though many did eventually find full-time employment during the downturn, the survey results showed that it was frequently not in positions that require a college degree. In fact, Adecco's survey found that almost half (43 percent) of these Generation R graduates are currently working at a job that does not require a four-year degree.

"Regardless of how the economy is fairing, graduates who proactively pound the pavement well before they finish their studies are more successful in landing a full-time job after graduation," said Joyce Russell, EVP and president of Adecco Staffing US. "The best piece of advice for the graduating class of 2011 is to treat their job search as if it were a full-time job. The students who succeed are those who proactively put themselves out there and build relationships by networking with professors, working closely with university career centers, actively connecting with alumni, and capitalizing on real-world job experience through internships and temporary work."

The class of 2010, which presumably had the opportunity to witness and learn from the mistakes of previous graduating classes, seems to have understood the benefits of an aggressive and wide job search better than any other class, particularly 2008 graduates. On average, 2010 graduates have applied to 14.5 jobs since their graduation, while 2008 graduates have only applied to 10.8 jobs since graduation. This broad search strategy appears to have paid off: it took 2010 graduates only 3.97 months to find a full-time job after graduation, compared to 2008 graduates who searched for 9.4 months before landing a position. This in spite of a 9.6 percent unemployment rate in May 2010, compared to a 5.4 percent rate in May 2008.

Additional survey findings include:

Temporary Work Provided Options to Recent Graduates Throughout the Recession: 19 percent of all Generation R undergraduates turned to temporary jobs within six months of graduation. While the classes of 2010 and 2008 approached their job search differently, both classes equally valued the opportunities temporary work had to offer: within six months of graduation 26 percent of 2010 graduates and 25 percent of 2008 graduates turned to temporary work for employment.

Moving Back In with Mom and Dad, Back on Their Dime: One-third (33 percent) of all Generation R grads – from the classes of 2006-2010 collectively - currently live at home with their parents. But it doesn't stop there: nearly one-fifth (17 percent) of these recent graduates are financially dependent on their parents.

College Graduates Have Bleak Outlook for Retirement: Only 19 percent of Generation R graduates believe Social Security will still exist by the time they retire. More troubling is that only 46 percent believe their personal savings plans will be sufficient to fund their retirement. Additionally, 26 percent of Generation R graduates don't believe they'll be able to retire until they are 70 years old or older.

"Today's job environment for graduating seniors is very different from just five years ago, and so the strategy for landing a great job out of college must be multi-dimensional," said Russell. "Today's graduates are smarter and much savvier about their job search process. They are more aggressive, with many starting the search much sooner and expanding on every advantage and opportunity, including temporary work experience, to make themselves as attractive as possible to potential employers.  The future is bright for the class of 2011, if they look to the lessons of the graduates who came before them."

About Adecco Staffing US

Adecco Staffing US is the nation's leading provider of recruitment and workforce solutions. We are the pre-eminent workforce management partner for Fortune 500 companies and career advisement expert for American workers, serving all of the key industries and professions that drive our economy forward. Adecco has over 900 career centers and, on any given day, connects 70,000 talented workers to the best job opportunities across the country, making us one of America's largest employers. Please visit us at

About the Adecco Group:

The Adecco Group, based in Zurich, Switzerland, is the world's leading provider of HR solutions. With over 32,000 FTE employees and more than 5,500 branches, in over 60 countries and territories around the world, Adecco Group offers a wide variety of services, connecting over 700,000 associates with well over 100,000 clients every day. The services offered fall into the broad categories of temporary staffing, permanent placement, outsourcing, consulting and outplacement. The Adecco Group is a Fortune Global 500 company.

Adecco S.A. is registered in Switzerland (ISIN: CH0012138605) and listed on the SIX Swiss Exchange (ADEN).

About Braun Research, Inc. (BRI)

BRI is a well-respected and internationally recognized firm that employs techniques and standards approved by leading survey research academic organizations in the world. BRI is an active member in a number of respected organizations throughout the industry, including The American Association for Public Opinion Research (AAPOR), Council on Marketing and Opinion Research (CMOR) and Council on American Survey Research Organizations (CASRO).


This Adecco 2011 Graduation Survey was conducted via telephone within the United States by Braun Research from April 1April 10, 2011 and surveyed 500 college graduates of four-year degree programs between the ages of 22-26. Results have a margin of error +/- 4.37 percent. For complete survey methodology, contact Vannessa Almeida at (727) 743-7191 or

SOURCE Adecco Staffing US