Both higher education institutions and employers need to evaluate the factors that influence students' career goals and career-related decisions because of their importance to and impact on career management and decision making. The objective of this study is to identify the importance of career goals and factors influencing students' career decision making in South Africa. A non-probability sample was selected, with 488 completed responses. The findings indicate that there are significant differences between gender and ethnic groups in terms of the importance of career goals and career influencing factors. The results suggest that high-quality education is needed in conjunction with industry involvement through proper job training and/or internships.