2007 Diversity Employers survey finds flexibility, opportunities to serve, higher priority than just making money

By the IMDiversity Career Center Staff


A comprehensive survey by Universum Communications provides a new glimpse into the career aspirations and employer preferences of Native American and Alaska Native college undergraduates and MBA students, contrasted with those for other ethnic groups including African Americans, Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders, South Asian Indian Americans, and Latinos.

The findings are presented in a new report based on surveys for 2007, “IDEAL Employers 2007 – Diversity Edition”. Capsules from the report were published in a recent edition of THE BLACK COLLEGIAN Magazine, a publication of multicultural publisher IMDiversity, Inc., which also produces the Native American Village Online website and the IMDiversity.com Career Center.  The full report, to be distributed on college campuses nationwide, is the result of the multinational research organization’s annual survey of students from 137 schools and universities across the country.  This year, the expanded survey drew over 16,000 respondents, and data were parsed by ethnicity, grade levels, gender, and other attributes.

The annual survey asks students to share their views and experiences regarding employers in all sectors, as well as personal topics such as their career goals, work values, perspectives on recruitment approaches, favorite websites, and feelings about the concept and value of diversity.


Definitions and Values Samples

Asked to define “diversity”, majorities in all survey groups, MBA and undergraduate, most frequently associated “ethnicity” with the term. This association was strongest for African American students (86%) and least commonly selected by Asian-Indian MBA students (72%).  “Gender” was again this year the second most common association across the board for all survey groups, but particularly pronounced among African American Students (63%).

Among American Indian/Alaska Native students this year, the definition of “diversity” was, well,diverse.  Among all groups, AI/AN students were most likely to also associate diversity with “socio-economic background” and “religion” (17% each), “language skills” (11%), “work function” (10%), and “physical disability” (7%).

Comparative highlights from other definitions:

Latino/Hispanic students were most likely among all survey groups to associate “diversity” with “sexual orientation” (12%); Asian-Indian students most frequently selected “nationality” (39%) and “education” (18%); African American were most likely to select “age” (38%); Asian American/Pacific Islander students most often selected “Personality” (18%).

Asked to define the preferred industry suiting their career goals, a number of shifts occurred across the groups since last year’s survey.  Whereas last year American Indian/Alaska Native students were the only group whose majority preference lay in public service and educational sectors rather than in the financial or management arenas, government & public sector emerged this year as the ideal target industries for the greatest percentages of AI/AN, Black/African-American and Latino/Hispanic-American students alike.

Once again this year but more so, AI/AN responses indicate that a majority are likely motivated by something other than strictly money in envisioning an ideal career path.  Among 2007’s AI/AN survey respondents, the impulse to “serve” and “give back” became especially pronounced.

For AI/AN students, the Top 5 preferred industries were:

  • Government & public sector (16%)
  • Other (13%)
  • Non-profit  (12%)
  • Education/teaching (12%)
  • Healthcare (11%)

Even factoring the MBA responses in with those of undergraduates, the AI/AN group reported an overall preference for careers in either the Government/Public service (16%) or “Other” (13%), followed closely by “Non-Profit” and “Education/Teaching” (tied at 12%), and Healthcare (11%, down significantly from last year’s 23%).

Asked “Which of the following would you find most attractive if offered by an employer?” the greatest number of AI/AN undergraduates said they prioritized “Flexible working conditions” (38%), followed by a “Competitive compensation” and “Clear advancement path” (both 28%).  Out of all groups, AI/AN group also had the highest proportion (10%) of those who responded “Community committment”.


Generational Differences Pronounced

As in years past, there were marked differences between MBA and undergraduate respondents’ career goals. Asked about their top career goals, the overall undergraduate group overwhelmingly said they hoped to attain a “Balance of personal life and career” (54%) within 3 years of graduating.  While this was also the top goal for a smaller proportion of the MBAs (43%), it seems that generational aspirations part ways after that.  Among undergraduates, “pursuing further education” was a high second priority (35%) while barely registering for MBAs (2%).

While MBAs aspired to quickly build a “sound financial base” (34%), “reach a managerial level” (28%), “work with leading edge technology” (23%) and “start a business” (18%), undergraduates also sought to “build a strong a financial base” (31%), but then aimed to “contribute to society” (25%), “work internationally” (21%), and “become a specialist” (13%).

Even accounting for the biases one must expect from a population pursuing a terminal, business-oriented management degree such as an MBA, there were interesting differences between the two populations in terms of what they sought in an employer and in terms of compensation. For MBAs, competitive compensation was clearly the most important aspect of an attractive job offer (50%), whereas undergraduates prioritize flexible working hours (31%). Both groups are similar in that they are looking for a place to work where they have a clear advancement path. However, while one-in-three undergraduates wants an employer that offers a secure employment, job security doesn’t even make it to the MBAs top 5.

Event of Interest

Virtual Career Fair

2008 Pre-Graduation Virtual Career Fair
From our sister-site, THE BLACK COLLEGIAN Online
Co-presented by IMDiversity.com, our Spring virtual career fair  features top employers for the Class of 2008 who are still actively accepting applications from recent college graduates and students. Fair is free and all IMDiversity.com entry-level jobseekers are welcome.
Fair scheduled from March 15 – April 25, 2008


Focus on Employers

In the main body of the report, composite figures from all groups’ responses were calculated for an overall ranking of the nation’s most desirable “ideal” employers according to different careers- and diversity-related criteria.  This year, the overall top diversity employer spot went for a second time to Google and some other familiar organizations, but there was a good bit of shifting on the list well.

For more information about the IDEAL Employers 2007 – Diversity Edition report, and more detailed tables and comparisons, see the fully-illustrated Special Report: Top 100 Diversity Employers 2007 at our sister-site, THE BLACK COLLEGIAN Online.

For information about the annual survey, see www.universumusa.com.


Also of Interest at IMDiversity.com

  • Entry-Level Careers Section @ IMDiversity.com
    By IMDiversity Career Center Staff
    QuickSearch section compiles feature readings and targeted opportunities searches for entry-level jobseekers and recent college graduates, as well as seasonal featured jobs promotions, links to student and MBA internships, coops, and more
  • 2006 Edition: What Do Native College Students Want in a Career?
    By IMDiversity Career Center Staff
    Survey of undergrads and MBAs finds work/life balance, opportunities to provide service and extend education, higher priority than just making money


IMDiversity.com is committed to presenting diverse points of view. However, the viewpoint expressed in this article is the opinion of the author and is not necessarily the viewpoint of the owners or employees at IMD.