Europe’s recent tech graduates share their career aspirations (new Madeinvote survey for Sopra Steria)

Paris, | minute read

Sopra Steria, major Tech player in Europe recognised for its consulting, digital services and software development, together with market research firm Madeinvote, has published the findings of a survey entitled “Recent graduates of IT and engineering schools and their expectations for the job market”.

Conducted in twelve European countries on more than 4,000 recent graduates of IT training programmes and engineering schools, this ground-breaking survey provides an overview of future generations’ career aspirations and expectations in the tech sector.

Key findings include the following:

  • For recent tech graduates in Europe, the top three criteria for choosing a job are compensation (49%), career development opportunities (44%) and work-life balance (43%).
  • Over 80% of recent graduates in Europe would like to work in an international environment (projects, clients, colleagues, etc.), and 54% are interested in opportunities to work abroad.

Beyond financial compensation, recent graduates in Europe are looking for greater flexibility and freedom in their working lives

While compensation was the most important factor for recent graduates in Europe overall (49% of respondents), its importance varied by gender. Men were more likely to prioritise compensation (53%), while the most important factor cited by women was job security (25%).

Career development opportunities were the second most important consideration for the next generation (44%), followed by work-life balance (43%). However, work-life balance was cited as the most enticing HR perk that could attract employees (63%). This finding reflects the next generation’s desire for more flexible working arrangements, which was borne out by other responses:

  • 88% of recent tech graduates in Europe would like to be able to work from home two to three days a week (including 90% of recent graduates in France).
  • 81% are in favour of a four-day workweek (a view shared by 87% of recent graduates in France).
  • 72% of recent graduates in Europe are considering working freelance in the future (63% of graduates in France).

The survey confirms what we are already seeing in several European countries: while future generation tech graduates remain pragmatic and pay particular attention to compensation, they are also looking for a good work-life balance. In France, the fact that nearly two out of three recent graduates are considering going freelance is an underlying trend that perfectly illustrates their need for flexibility. We also saw a lot of interest in the idea of a four-day workweek, with more than eight out of ten respondents in France in favour of it. However, in our sector, which is heavily dependent on demand from tech businesses, this type of arrangement is still a relatively marginal practice on which we don’t have much long-term data,” explained Louis-Maxime Nègre, Director of Human Resources at Sopra Steria.
On the other hand, what surprised us somewhat was that although environmental, social and ethical issues are often cited as key factors for attracting recent job candidates in Europe, these aren’t yet top-priority criteria in their job search. Perhaps that’s because these are their expectations for the business world in general, rather than a recruitment driver,” he added.

Growing interest in artificial intelligence among recent graduates

While web development and programming are still the most popular technologies among recent graduates in Europe (preferred by 40% and 35%, respectively, of survey respondents), artificial intelligence appears to be gaining in popularity (31%), particularly among recent graduates in France and Italy. That interest is likely to grow over the coming years, with the development of generative AI and new types of demand from businesses.

In terms of business lines, software and information technology ranked first (52%), ahead of IT – all sectors combined (48%), engineering and IT consultancy (32%) and cybersecurity (25%).

This ground-breaking survey shows that recent graduates in Europe have a lot in common when it comes to career aspirations, in particular which sector they’d like to work in, the technologies that interest them most and their desire for greater flexibility. However, there are still major gender differences in these areas, as well as in what recent graduates say they expect to earn, which shows that there’s still a lot of work to be done to encourage and promote women in the tech sector,” commented Grégoire Besançon, head of market research at Madeinvote.

While the career aspirations of recent tech graduates looking for work do vary, based on factors such as work experience, gender and country, a detailed understanding of these expectations is essential to attracting and retaining talent. This survey – the first of its scale to be carried out in Europe – will help Sopra Steria gauge which additional steps to take to strengthen its employer brand, offering personalised programmes and benefits in order to better meet candidates’ expectations. In 2023, the Group is planning to hire 7,000 people in Europe, including 4,400 in France.

This online survey was conducted by Sopra Steria in collaboration with Madeinvote. It was carried out in twelve European countries (France, the United Kingdom, Spain, Italy, Germany, Belgium, the Netherlands, Luxembourg, Switzerland, Poland, Sweden and Norway) on more than 4,250 recent graduates, between 18 July and 11 September 2023.


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Europe’s recent tech graduates share their career aspirations (new Madeinvote survey for Sopra Steria)


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Aurélien Flaugnatti
Aurélien Flaugnatti
Content & PR manager, Sopra Steria