The Class of 2022 Is in Demand. What Do New Grads Want?

Meet the class of 2022. They are the most in-demand college graduates to enter the job market in years. They have the expectations to match.

Grads are seeking more money and flexibility and more specifics about likely assignments than previous classes. Some want their employers to take stands on social issues. And after wrapping the last two years of their education under pandemic conditions, they are highly adaptable yet hungry for face-to-face work, training and mentorship.

Pay is thus far more generous than some grads were expecting. Liam Burke, 22, graduated early in March from Western Washington University and got three offers before accepting one. The position he took as a buyer and planner in the aerospace sector, he said, brought a salary higher than the first two offers—and came in above the range he shared during the interview process.

Mr. Burke said it was “nerve-racking” to wait for a best-fit job and let the other offers pass, but “you just have to have this quiet confidence that you’re going to do fine.”

Among those who have accepted jobs, 53% said their starting salary was greater than they expected, while 41% said it was what they anticipated, according to a survey of more than 1,000 college seniors from TimelyMD, a telehealth company providing medical treatment and counseling to students, published in April.