Top 20 Best Places To Work For Recent College Grads

For hundreds of thousands of students, the start of this final term before graduation means that the time-crunch and search for potential jobs has begun.

But, have no fear, Experience has done the research for you, and compiled our list of the Top 20 Best Places to Work for Recent College Grads.

      From literally Accenture to ZS Associates, we narrowed down employers in a range of industries including insurance, hospitality, and consulting. Some of the organizations that were recognized as providing exceptional opportunities for recent college grad hires include, Liberty Mutual, Wachovia, Enterprise Rent-A-Car, Sherwin-Williams, and the Peace Corps, just to name a few.

       With young grads being more determined and focused than ever to acquire the job of their dreams, more and more current employers are taking steps to make their workplaces Gen Y-friendly. Our survey has put the spotlight on those employers who have made the extra effort and have been  most successful at it.

       At the tail end of 2008, Experience contacted corporate recruiters and top employers to respond to our survey. From there, we narrowed the pool down, and then conducted  interviews with the employer finalists and their actual recent college grad hires within the company, to get the real stories.

       Employers who planned to hire at least 50 recent grads were asked about salary, available training programs, defined career paths for recent college grad hires, promotion opportunities, vacation time, work-life balance, diversity, green incentives, unique benefits and perks, and other issues key to new grads.

       The new employees — recent college grads themselves — were asked what life was really like as a new hire at their respective companies.

       After all the answers were reviewed, we selected 20 employers that represented a range of impressive perks new grads can hope to find in their first jobs – ranging from generous salaries to workplace flexibility, from enviable benefits to serious growth opportunities.Tales From The Field

       Jose Caban, Software Engineer, for Electronic Arts (EA), started working his way up the corporate ladder as an intern, and was hired for a full-time position in 2007. He has an Xbox 360 and three Playstation 3’s at his desk, loves the meeting room that has a ball-pit (yes, think Chuck E. Cheese), and appreciates the light-hearted atmosphere and people. Caban stated, “Our job is to make games that are fun to play, and making said games is both fun and challenging. You get to push the technology to the limit as soon as you’re out of school — which, to me, is extremely important in choosing a job.”

       Target’s Tara Pacheco, Executive Team Leader for Human Resources (TX), began her career path at the company with two internships, while she was still in school. After experiencing many of the advantages that Target has to offer to their employees, first-hand, Pacheco landed her current position upon graduation, in May 2008. Pacheco stated, “From day one at Target, work-life balance development is strived for, in order to retain talent.”

       Nikolay Yakovlev, Analyst — Consulting Workforce, at Accenture, was truly intrigued by the original and interesting perks/programs that his current company had to offer, besides the standard benefits. For example, Accenture offers the opportunity to travel to third-world countries (the Accenture Development Partnerships program) to work and offer skills/services (upon application/selection); the ability to actually donate unused sick-time to other colleagues who need it; and a survey that goes out from the company  to ask the opinions of the employees. Yakovlev stated, “Accenture recognizes that personal success drives company success.”

       Sodexo’s Will Leader, Operations Manager — Manual Medical Center/Healthcare, also started his career at the company as an intern. He soon became so impressed by many of Sodexo’s offerings such as, their mentorship program, diversity, and innovative electronic training for Gen Y, that he officially joined the team full-time this past fall 2008. Leader said, “At Sodexo, we are given the freedom to work with the tools that we are given.”

       Julia Watson, Store Assistant Manager (CO), for Sherwin-Williams, didn’t originally intend to make a full-time career at her Top 20 Employer; however, after witnessing the effort Sherwin-Williams puts into training their employees, their job security, and the fact that she has and will continue to enjoy the challenge along the way, Watson just couldn’t pass up the opportunity, upon graduation in 2008. Watson said, “Every position at Sherwin-Williams is valued. The company looks up to us as the future.”

       Qualcomm’s Nathan Pletcher, Senior Engineer, was hired full time for his current position shortly after graduation in 2008. And, in addition to looking forward to working within a fantastic team environment every day, Pletcher mentioned that Qualcomm even has a full outdoor  basketball court outside of their building. Pletcher said, “Qualcomm is not just another technology company. They really distinguish themselves by being a good corporate citizen in terms of the environment, and by serving the community.”

       All of the top 20 employers from our list said they are committed to continuing to hire qualified entry-level staff members, despite the general economic downturn. Beyond that, they’re not changing their hiring practices, and will continue to offer high levels of perks as well as career involvement with all new employees.

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