Does the personality of graduates differ from other employees?


Organisations spend a great deal of money and effort to recruit graduates into their organisation. However, do graduates really differ from other types of employees and if so, what benefits may graduates bring to an organisation? Furthermore, what can organisations do to encourage the attraction, retention and development of graduates? We compared the personality averages of graduates to other kinds of employees to obtain some insight into these questions. The results indicated that there are numerous differences between graduates and other kinds of employees.

Graduates were found to be more inclined to use innovative approaches to solve problems which may enhance an organisation’s adaptability and competitive edge. Graduates were also more likely to enjoy learning and stay up-to-date in business and technical matters compared to other employees. Organisations may enhance their attraction and retention of graduates by highlighting available training and development opportunities for employees. Graduates also seem to be more strongly drawn to organisations that value research, technology and the latest thinking, and provide them with opportunities to engage in both data-driven problem solving and future-oriented thinking.

When examining potential development opportunities for graduates, the results suggested that graduates are more likely to have high standards of performance. At times, this may result in graduates being overly critical, not effectively prioritising tasks, trying to do everything themselves, and being slow to act or make decisions. Managers may assist graduates displaying these tendencies by helping them to adopt realistic standards regarding the required quality and timeliness for tasks, encouraging them to delegate tasks, and helping them to develop a system for evaluating task priorities.

The results also indicated that graduates may tend to be eager to please their superiors. While this is generally considered to be a good quality in an employee, at times it may become problematic such as when graduates avoid expressing their opinion, making independent decisions or taking initiative, and become overly reliant on superiors for advice. Managers may assist graduates displaying these kind of tendencies by encouraging them to show greater autonomy and initiative as it will increase their credibility with others in the organisation.

The results above were extracted from a major study undertaken by PBC. We have recently updated our Australian benchmarks for the Hogan personality assessments based on a data set of nearly 40,000 people. Please contact us if you would like to hear more about the outcomes of this research: