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APAC’s Most Attractive Employers 2016

Posted by on Oct 10, 2016 in Press Releases


APAC Millennials seek employers who can provide work/life balance and environments where they’ll feel happy and engaged.

-And Asia’s Most Attractive Employers are delivering just that.

Asia Pacific, October 11th – Business, engineering and IT students in nine of APAC’s largest economies have chosen their favorite employers. More than 117,000 respondents in Universum’s Talent Survey have ranked the companies they find most desirable for employment, as well as shared their preferences for what makes an employer desirable and what they want to get from their careers. With more than 300,000 individual company evaluations, the results delivered some valuable insights. Despite some interesting movement in this year’s rankings, the pin-up employer for graduates, Google, still remains the top choice, regardless of field of study.

Millennials are attracted by an environment, not a reputation or a package

When expressing what they want out of their careers and their ideal employers, millennials in APAC are highly focused on their working environment and in achieving work/life balance. Gen-Y wants to work in an environment that’s creative, dynamic, respectful and, importantly, friendly. These desires now supersede those for large remuneration packages and working for employers with the strongest market position. This trend is something that was first seen in Western economies in recent years and has been growing in significance in APAC, demonstrating that prioritizing a working environment is, indeed, intrinsic of today’s millennial generation.

”These rankings demonstrate a clear correlation between what employers offer to talent and how desirable they are. It comes as no surprise to me that there are now as many (5) FMCG companies in the top 25 for business students as there are banks”,  said Universum’s SVP of Employer Branding, Rachele Focardi. She continued “banks have struggled to offer the sorts of environmental factors that top talent now demands, whereas FMCG companies, such as Unilever and P&G, have done much better”

This news can come as a double-edged sword to employers who want to attract the very best talent. On one hand, changing a working environment can be implemented at relatively low cost and in relatively short time frames, compared with changes like offering increased salary and perks, or gaining market position and reputation. The downside, however, is that changing a working culture can involve changing the mindset and habits of an existing workforce and its management, which, at an organisational level, is often fraught with challenges and complexities of its own.

This trend also goes some way to explaining the increased attractiveness of start-ups and SMEs, who’re perceived to offer these modern millennial-friendly cultures, fledgling employers like Uber and Airbnb are good examples. This is great news for entrepreneurial and progressive businesses who, if savvy enough, can now better position themselves to compete with larger organisations for the best talent.

 “Even now, we are still seeing many western MNCs treating Asia as one market and not localizing their messaging to talent”, said  Universum’s Managing Director APAC, Joakim Ström.  He continued “talent in Asia is as diverse as the region itself, and employers need to be strategic if they want to compete at the very top”.

Google takes the top spot for business and engineering students

The undisputed king of employer image in APAC, Google, maintained its grip on the top spot in 2016 among both business students and those studying engineering and IT. The remaining top five most attractive employers among engineering and IT students were…

Employer Rank

Although the most preferred industry for engineering and IT talent are still the engineering and manufacturing firms overall, it’s those in the tech space who dominate the very top of the rankings.

Among business students, however, the story is similar. The once dominant banks only now have one employer ranked in the top ten. The professional services, auditing and accounting firms are the industry of choice for business talent, occupying fifty per cent of the top ten. The top 5 looked like this:

Employer Rank
3.McKinsey & Co
4.Goldman Sachs
5.Procter & Gamble

 “Competition among employers in Asia is really heating up, every day we’re seeing employers sit up and take more notice of their employer brand”, said Universum’s SVP of Employer Branding, Rachele Focardi. She continued, “the APAC rankings serve as a good barometer of how large MNC’s are performing regionally in the war for talent but, to see how the battle looks within the individual markets, you really need to view the country rankings, which show that the domestic employers are now competing at the top in their home markets. This surge from the domestic employers that we’ve seen in the past few years has largely been driven by the way talent sees them as friendlier and less likely to negatively impact work/life balance”.

Samsung, Huawei, Sony, Nissan, Toyota, and Lenovo are the only Asian companies among the top 50 employers for both business and engineering and IT students in Asia pacific, which is less than ten percent of the total.

For more info and full rankings, go to:


The APAC Most Attractive Employer rankings are compiled from the Universum Talent Surveys, conducted in Australia, China, Hong Kong, India, Indonesia, Japan, Malaysia, Singapore and South Korea. The field period for the data collection was from October 2015 to June 2016. Companies, must rank in the top 90% of employers within at least four regional markets. If an employer is not listed or is ranked outside the top 90% in a market, it gets a default ranking which is equal to the position of the last company in the top 90% for that market. Results are weighted by GDP, so that a high ranking position in China has a greater influence than a high ranking position in Australia, for example.

About Universum

Universum is the global leader in employer branding. Advising the leading employers in the world to better understand, attract and recruit talent. During our 25+ years we have established ourselves in 60 markets with 15 offices covering the world. Our solutions are actionable research, strategic advisory, data driven communication solutions – and being a pioneer in social media solutions in the world for talent branding, sourcing and analytics. A trusted partner to over 1,700 clients, including many Fortune 500 companies, as well as global media partners that publish our annual rankings and trend reports, with 2,000 partner universities worldwide conducting research on the career and employer preferences of top talent. Universum surveys on an annual basis over 1,500,000 students and professionals worldwide. For more information, please go to

Media Contacts
Jonas Barck, Global Director of Media and Public Relations

Mike Parsons, Marketing Director APAC