Close-up of a womans hand with a graduation cap against the blue sky.

Nearly seven in 10 (67% of) new grads are confident about finding a job or other post-graduate opportunity that will advance their career, according to the results of a recent survey from Handshake. However, 59% have concerns about keeping up with expenses, and 60% say current economic trends are causing pessimism (up from 46% last year).

As they head into the world of work, many graduates are also worried about experiencing burnout (61%), not enjoying their job (54%), and struggling to advance (53%).

Why they apply

The top factors that encourage the Class of 2024 to apply to jobs include:

  • Job stability (76%)
  • Location (75%) — The right job would convince 79% to relocate, but 86% feel that it’s important to stay close to family.
  • Positive employer reputation (72%) — Most grads check out employer reviews before applying to a job (75%), and, for 73% of respondents, behind-the-scenes content from a company increases the likelihood of applying.  
  • High starting salary (71%) 
  • Flexible schedule (61%)

Where they’re applying

On Handshake, more 2024 grads (7.4%) are applying for government jobs than 2023 grads (5.5%). Other industries seeing increased interest include manufacturing, construction, healthcare, agriculture, and education. 

More graduating students majored in business (19.1%), social sciences (10.4%), and computer science (7.8%) this year compared to 2023 grads. And they’re applying to a wider variety of roles, often outside of the most common or expected track for their majors.  

The Class of 2024 has also taken a particular interest in entrepreneurship — 73% are at least somewhat interested in entrepreneurship opportunities, such as generating passive income (67%), opening a small business (64%), and freelancing (44%).

Find more insights on the Class of 2024 in the full report.