SOURCE: fluent


May 24, 2016 09:00 ET

2016 College Grad Optimism Meter: Sunny on Jobs, Darker Outlook on Personal Front

Fluent Survey Finds Newest Crop of Professionals Worry About Finances, Health & Romance in a Tough Economy

BOSTON, MA--(Marketwired - May 24, 2016) - As the Class of 2016 heads into the workplace and rising seniors make final preparations for their turn next year, leading college marketing and insights agency Fluent identified areas of optimism and worry among these newest young professionals. A whopping 93% of more than 1,000 survey respondents nationwide report optimism about their job and career prospects over the next two years. In fact, they are about 55% more optimistic about job prospects than about their love lives. At the same time, they worry about the U.S. economy and other national issues, with an impact on the personal when it comes to their wallets and, surprisingly, their health.

"We were surprised to find such optimism with these students around career and job prospects; it goes against what you've seen reported before with college students' nervousness around finding meaningful jobs post-college. Students who have been active on campuses have a can-do attitude and seem to feel they have made the connections and gained the skills they need to launch careers," says Fluent EVP Michael Carey.

"At the same time, 62% are pessimistic about their finances over the next two years. And perhaps due to stress or uncertainty about how they will care for themselves on tight budgets and with looming college debt becoming a reality, just over half of these young people are pessimistic about their health in the coming two years."

These worries are important to companies wooing the Classes of 2016 and 2017 as potential employees and as customers. These young adults come to the table feeling confident in their own abilities. Solid health and wellness plans will be important, as will avenues to help them pay down debt and build their bank accounts. Brands that show a sensitivity in the areas of loyalty rewards, value, and an understanding of how needs can be balanced with feel-good moments or splurges will do well.

"It's more critical than ever to understand the value of real community," says Carey. "Genuine relationships and experiences are paramount. If they feel respected, that a company understands them and has their backs, the loyalty payoff will be significant not just short-term, but long into the future."

The Personal Forecast

  • An incredible 93% report feeling optimistic about their job and career prospects over the next two years, with about 70% saying they feel very optimistic.
  • As they prepare to move into new lives and make new connections, 68% feel positive about maintaining friendships and 73% about family relationships through times of change. Only 60% say they feel optimistic about their love lives -- perhaps a reflection of an intention to put effort into those fledgling careers and not get too serious about romance right away.
  • Sixty-two percent say they are pessimistic about their personal finances over the next two years.
  • While 23% say they feel very optimistic about their health and 25% say they feel somewhat optimistic about their health, more than half of these youngest citizens -- 52% -- actually feel pessimistic about their health in the coming two years.

The National Forecast

  • Eighty percent are pessimistic about the U.S. economic outlook, with 53% saying they are very pessimistic.
  • Eighty percent are also pessimistic about national political trends. Only 2% were "very optimistic" and 18% "somewhat optimistic" on that front, with 17% "very pessimistic"
  • Respondents were close to evenly split on the issue of national security.
  • Respondents were close to evenly divided on the future of the environment, with 55% feeling somewhat to very optimistic, and 45% feeling somewhat to very pessimistic.

This survey was conducted May 11 - 16, 2016 and drew 1,105 respondents nationwide in their junior and senior years of college.

Specializing in "translating brands for the college world," Fluent works with clients who want to understand and engage College Millennial Consumers (CMCs) nationwide, both on- and off-campus. With a network encompassing more than 1,000 colleges and universities, Fluent's capabilities include campus activities and programs, College Millennial Consumer insights, digital and social media strategy and activations, and experiential programs. Clients have included major brands such as Kellogg's, Microsoft, Macy's, Keurig, Jack in the Box, Skype, Zipcar, Kotex, Dove and L'Oreal. For more information, visit:

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