The survey has not identified a generation of slackers. Students are looking for competitive salaries and opportunities to reach managerial levels when they decide on their first employers.
Across international boundaries, the findings were similar. "Students today have grown up in a world of international television, cinema, magazines, music and literature," Nicholas Moore, chairman of Coopers & Lybrand International, said. Pointing out that the survey, carried out among 1,200 students at 30 universities in 10 countries by Universum International, indicated that a fifth had studied abroad and a similar proportion had international work experience, he added: "This is truly the world's first global generation."
The desire for a balance between work and life appears twice. As well as being the number one career goal, ahead of "building a sound financial base" and achieving "a position where I can work and travel internationally", it is the most important factor considered by students when asked what they were looking for in their first employer. It was ahead of "opportunities to reach management levels" and "competitive salary".
Among the other findings are that students want to work for global companies and place a high priority on personal development, putting it ahead of building a career, time with friends and relatives and raising a family.
The students are bullish about the future of business, with 74 per cent believing national borders will lose economic importance and 66 per cent saying business will have a greater influence than politics on the world's future.
Coopers linked up with the Universum, specialists in graduate surveys and manage-ment consulting in related areas, because it believes it can continue to attract the best only if it understands what today's student wantsn