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What Draws Candidates to the World's Most Attractive Employers?

By Universum on 17/05/2017

When we hear World’s Most Attractive Employers (WMAE), we immediately think of the big names in tech and finance with brand equity and an affinity to say all the right things and offer all the right perks. Universum has made a habit of studying these top names in employment and providing annual reports that dive deep into what candidates desire most from companies.

Our 2016 global WMAE study took an in-depth look at what companies were drawing the most attention from talented job seekers around the world. We focused on 240,000 students from leading universities and organized our results between two main sectors: business and engineering/IT. Chances are you can guess some of the top ranked organizations. 

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Top 5 Most Desirable Employers Among Global Business Students

  1. Google
  2. Apple
  3. EY
  4. Goldman Sachs
  5. PwC

Top 5 Most Desirable Employers Among Global Engineering/IT Students

  1. Google
  2. Microsoft
  3. Apple
  4. BMW Group
  5. IBM

There’s no denying the competition for top talent is fierce, especially on a global scale. While it might be daunting for employers to repeatedly see the same big names, our research aims to understand the details beyond brand recognition and notoriety. Our annual surveys gauge perceptions around attractiveness, understand the career and life goals of talent and pinpoint the traits job seekers desire most. What’s stoking the flames when it comes to job seeker interest in 2017?

Digital Prowess & Ties to Tech

The tech industry has long been a favorite of talent, whether they be STEM workers or not. While part of the appeal can be blamed on familiarity with their products and services, some of the interest should be attributed to these employers’ comfort with innovation and new tech/technique adoption. For example, between 2015 and 2016, 10 out of the 12 most attractive employers within the financial industry dropped in rankings among business students. One of the two companies that maintained their ratings was Goldman Sachs who had introduced Snapchat to their recruiting strategy.

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The popular communication app has a 72% adoption rate and is the most used social media platform among 12 to 24 year olds. Snapchat allowed the company to connect with the college-aged demographic, building rapport with newly graduated or soon-to-graduate talent. While there are many contributing factors to gaining talent’s interest, the ability to work within their comfort zone might very well be one of the best approaches. Employer branding tactics like maintaining digital personas show personality, something an organization in the traditionally high-regulated and stuffy financial industry needs.

Devotion to Inspirational Purpose

One commonality among desired employers is a devotion to inspiring purpose. In fact, our research found that many of our top employers even use variations of “inspiring purpose” within their EVPs. People have begun to expect industry leaders to accept some responsibility in effecting positive change. A 2016 US study found that 81% of Americans believe corporations should take responsibility to address important issues society is facing. On a global scale, 91% of consumers expect companies to operate responsibly and address social and environmental issues.
Purposeful work isn’t just a company’s dedication society. Talent wants to see how their daily contributions serve the greater good. In some lines of work, that is an easier connection to see while others have to actively connect those dots. PwC, for example, is mostly focused on professional services. The organization connects their work to community and societal engagement by zoning in on 3 distinct issues and devoting resources, like pro bono work and establishing community programs, to those issues.

Appreciation of Innovation and Development

Google boasts dedication to employee’s lifelong learning opportunities and provides a graduate leadership program called BOLD Immersion. Apple has the not-so-secret secret Apple University for employees. PwC has their PwC Professional program. Microsoft even provides free online training to anyone through Microsoft Virtual Academy. Fostering a culture of learning is something many of these organizations are doing with programs like these.
One study unveiled that 89% of employees believe it’s important for employers to support their learning and development. The benefit is mutual. Whether the participant is an intern or a full-time employee, the company is developing their skills while conditioning them to work successfully within their business structure, adapting to their unique environment and following their values. Meanwhile, even if the program isn’t leading to employment, the organization is building a relationship with talented professionals who can become lifelong brand ambassadors, future partners or loyal customers.

Check out 2017’s Talent Survey Data for a look at what attracts US job seekers to employers.

When it comes to the World’s Most Attractive Employers, we’re used to seeing companies repeatedly ranking high. We hear about their insane perk list and benefits programs and feel like reaching a positive place in the eyes of talent is out of reach. Luckily, the culture many of these organizations house are not as elusive as we like to think. Our research points to some tangible management tactics that are fairly realistic for most organizations to provide.
However, even the most organized and positive company cultures can be outshined if there is no employer branding strategy implemented. Communicating with your talent is critical to being top of mind, so take charge of your organization’s approach employer branding and begin making more meaningful connections with talent.
employer brand strategy