Academic journal article College Student Journal

The Relevance of Diversity in the Job Attribute Preferences of College Students

Academic journal article College Student Journal

The Relevance of Diversity in the Job Attribute Preferences of College Students

Article excerpt


The study explores the role of diversity in the underlying job attributes that college students use to evaluate careers and if there are differences in the individual job attributes based on the race, gender, and major of the participants. We use a factor analysis to explore the underlying factors associated with 16 job attributes. Findings reveal three primary factors: diversity-global, intrinsic features and status. Diversity-global accounts for nearly 24% of the variance, intrinsic features contribute to 14% of the variance, and status has about 12% of the variance. We also utilize analysis of variance (ANOVA) to identify demographic differences, (i.e., gender, race, and academic major), associated with 16 job attributes. The top three job attributes are advancement, salary and flexible work hours. While there are some differences in job attributes based on race and gender, they are considerably fewer than we expected; academic major actually provides the greatest number of significant findings. This suggests that organizations should emphasize major more than race or gender in the recruitment process. At the same time, how much organizations embrace diversity and inclusion is a consideration for women and Blacks.

Key Words: job attributes; millennial generation; college students; race; major


Job attributes are descriptions of the duties, organizational skills, abilities, experiences and/or outcomes associated with jobs or organizations (Konrad, Corrigall, Lieb, Richie, 2000).

Herzberg's motivation hygiene theory has historically been a source for understanding job attribute dimensions; he and his associates found an "intrinsic" dimension of job attributes that impacts employee satisfaction and an "extrinsic" dimension that impacts dissatisfaction (Herzberg, Mausner, Peterson & Capwell, 1957). The intrinsic dimension includes job attributes like recognition, the work itself, advancement, and challenging work. The extrinsic dimension relates to organizational policies, collegial relationships, supervisor, environment, and salary. These dimensions are supposed to be mutually exclusive. More recent job attribute research shows the intrinsic and extrinsic dimensions to be less distinct than previously thought, but the conceptual framework is still a common way to frame employee attitude or satisfaction (Bigoness, 1988; Brenner & Tomkiewicz, 1979, 1982; Kanungo & Hartwick, 1987; Tomkiewicz, Johnson & Brenner, 1997). The overall implication of Hertzberg's theory is that managers can increase employee motivation, productivity, or retention when they design jobs that are high in intrinsic satisfiers and low in hygiene dissatisfiers. An extension of this implication is that college students will be more likely to work for organizations that have jobs with several satisfiers and few dissatifiers. As students advance through college, they begin to seriously think about the types of jobs they would like to have and the kinds of organizations they would like to work for after graduation (Koncz & Giordani, 2005).


The majority of today's first-time college students are a part of the Millennial generation. There is no absolute agreement on the parameters of this generation; some fist this generation starting in 1976 and ending in 1996 (Kaimal, 2003). Strauss and Howe (1991) use the guideline of people born between 1982 and 2001. Independent of the exact start date of this generation, there is some consensus about their generational characteristics. They are often labeled as technophiles, and adjectives like assured, tolerant, civic-minded, and adaptable are often used to describe Millennials, also known as Gen Y (Gravett & Throckmorton, 2007; Raines, 2002; Strauss & Howe, 1991). They have high levels of technical savvy and are comfortable using cell phones, iPods, Twitter, instant messaging, and social networking sites (Gravett & Throckmorton, 2007; Raines, 2002). …

Search by... Author
Show... All Results Primary Sources Peer-reviewed


An unknown error has occurred. Please click the button below to reload the page. If the problem persists, please try again in a little while.