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Report: Large Share of New College Grads Want to Be in the Office

S.J. Steinhardt
Published Date:
May 13, 2024

Full-time salaried employees between the ages of 20 and 24 are 27 percent less likely to be fully remote than workers in their 30s, according to a recent report by payroll provider Gusto, CPA Practice Advisor reported. Only 21 percent of new graduates workers were identified as fully remote.

This trend may be partially due to seniority,  the Gusto report stated, as “in general, senior, or tenured workers may get more remote work opportunities.” Gusto used real-time data from 300,000 small and midsize businesses on its platform. But while seniority plays a role, the report found that the “magnitude of the difference" between age groups "suggests many college grads are choosing to start their careers in person.”

These new grads are likely looking for “face-to-face time with bosses, networking, mentorship, and in-person collaboration,” the report said.

Previous research has indicated that remote work is losing its allure for young workers. Some respondents to Deloitte’s 2023 Gen Z and Millennial Survey said that they had experienced proximity bias. Others said remote and hybrid work could make it more difficult to find mentors or forge connections with colleagues.

In “a post-pandemic world, engaging and retaining younger workers presents both a challenge and an opportunity to gain a competitive edge and ensure long-term success,” a February Gallup report concluded.

The Gusto report also found that many new graduates are headed to New York City; the Big Apple has the highest share of new grad hiring, accounting for nearly 10 percent of all new grad hiring over the past year. Unsurprisingly, the city is the least affordable city for new grads on Gusto’s list, as the cost of living in New York is 126 percent higher than the national average. The average new grad's starting salary of $64,134 will feel like $28,479 when compared to many other cities.

By contrast, the cost of living in Austin, Tex., is 1 percent lower than the national average. Its relatively high average starting salary of $57,418 feels like $58,055 compared to other cities.