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What US graduates really want

Posted by on May 9, 2013 in Rankings

USResearch by Universum Shows What Today’s Graduating Class Really Wants

Universum, the global Employer Brand Research Firm, released its 2013 rankings of the IDEAL™ Employers Thursday. Based on a survey of nearly 66,000 undergraduate students, the IDEAL rankings reveal which employers are attracting students and more importantly, why. This year’s results were announced at the Employer Branding Conference, an annual event in New York held for top executives in Recruitment and Talent Attraction.

Work/ Life Balance: Still on top, barely

Continuing the trend of recent years, having work/life balance and a secure job were the top overall career goals among students. Since 2009, work/life balance has topped the list of students most desired traits in a future employer. This year, it remains at the top of the list, but yearly incremental downward shifts show a trend of lessening importance over other desirable traits. It is unclear whether this is a result of a changing work environment, shifting student priorities or employers implementing more balanced policies.
“Work/life balance is such an elusive term,” said Melissa Murray Bailey, President – Americas at Universum. “It may be this difficulty to pin down a definition that explains the shift – is it that employers are listening and creating a new work/life balance that students have come to expect as a standard offering? Or are more students realizing that success often comes with hard work and sacrifice?”

The Mad Men Effect?

Media and Advertising made a strong showing with students this year, showing a surprising number of business students looking to enter this industry. Bailey said, “We’re really interested in getting under this trend to find out what these employers are doing to attract students in such a strong way. What is it this industry is doing to attract students in this way?”
Bailey said her hope is the media and advertising industry will embrace this decided edge and continue to “ride the wave” of student perception while remaining open to change.

Demographic Shifts Toward the Women

Women make up 60% of the college population, and that majority is reflected in Universum’s survey. The IDEAL rankings point to a similar trend in student preference toward traditionally female-centric industries.
“More traditionally male-dominated industries who are looking to hire these highly educated female students,” said Bailey, “must address the mismatched alignment between their standard industry practices and the priorities of today’s graduating woman.”

Software is Up, Hardware is Down

Software & Computer Services is still a popular industry for graduating students surveyed, which is highly associated with providing a creative / dynamic work environment and innovation.
“We’re seeing a big shift in IT,” said Bailey. “There is a trend toward an independent, more flexible work style and a shift away from a hierarchal work style.”

Who are this year’s top employers?

Overall Rankings in Business and Engineering:

Top 10 in Business
1 – Google
2 – Walt Disney Company
3 – Apple
4 – Ernst & Young
5 – Nike
6 – J.P. Morgan
7 – Deloitte
8 – PwC (PricewaterhouseCoopers)
9 – Goldman Sachs
10 – KPMG LLP

Top 10 in Engineering

1 – NASA
2 – Google
3 – Boeing
4 – Apple
5 – Microsoft
6 – Lockheed Martin Corporation
7 – General Electric
8 – Walt Disney Company
9 – U.S. Department of Energy
10 – Exxon Mobil Corporation

For complete rankings please click here