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Europe’s Most Attractive Employers Ranking | 2017

By Universum on 25/10/2017

European students are looking for great training opportunities and the chance to build their CV with great brand names but only if they provide the right cultural fit.

Stockholm, October 25th – Business and engineering/IT students in the Europe’s 12 largest economies (Belgium, France, Germany, Italy, the Netherlands, Poland, Russia, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland, Turkey and the UK) have chosen their favorite employers. This year saw more than 198,500 European business and engineering/IT students take Universum’s Talent Survey and weigh in on what companies and employer characteristics they find most attractive.
To earn a position amongst Europe’s Most Attractive Employers (EMAE), a company 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 Germany has a greater influence than a high ranking position in Belgium, for example.
What do Students want to do after they graduate?
When asked about their plans after graduation the majority on European talent (45% of business students and 39% of engineering/IT students) said they would like to work for an international company. Working for a privately-owned national company/organization was the second most popular choice for both sets of talent followed by the option of continuing to study. One thing that stood out about this question in our survey was that only 2% of business and engineering/IT talent in Europe would like to work for their governments. This means that careers in the public sector are now collectively less popular than joining a start-up, which 4% of business talent and 5% engineering/IT talent said they would like to do.
Business trends
While Russian and Polish talent rate job security as their top career goal and Belgian and Turkish talent cite having an international career as theirs, the majority of European talent are still actively in pursuit of obtaining a work/life balance. Being leader or manager of people has continued to be the second most important career goal, however job security/stability has overtaken having an international career as the third most cited career goal for European business talent.
Management and strategy consulting is the industry of choice, with 33% of business talent citing it as the industry they would most like to join after graduation. Banking is the second most preferred industry with 24% of the vote followed by financial services and media and advertising with 20% each.  If we look at the attractiveness of companies within these industries, they are on average less attractive than employers in the auditing and accounting or software industries, which are the industries with the most attractive employers.

“We see a recurring trend of graduates aiming to work in certain industries, yet choosing a completely different employer outside of their preferred industry. Millennials nowadays choose to join people and work environments, not companies and industries. This explains the great success of professional services and software firms, which have done an amazing job at communicating their employer brand and their work culture. On the flipside, Management consulting and banks have been slow in communicating their work culture and using social platforms effectively and in an authentic manner” said Claudia Tattanelli, Global director Universum.

High future earnings, professional training and development and good references for the future are the top drivers of attractiveness. However, as we see in the slide below there are many variances by region, which proves that local differences are still quite strong.

Tattanelli continued “For those multinationals that want to build strong employer brands across Europe, it is essential nowadays to know not only what is globally a common driver (i.e. training and development) but also to focus even more on understanding how to translate their core messages locally. This way employers will be able to cut through the noise and reach graduates with what really matters to them”.     

TOP 10 EMAE Rankings: Business
The Business rankings are incredibly stable with no changes to the top 6, meaning Google, L’Oréal Group, Microsoft, PwC (PricewaterhouseCoopers) EY (Ernst & Young) and KPMG all retained their positions from the previous year. Deloitte has taken over seventh place ahead of fellow climber Goldman Sachs, and non-mover McKinsey and Company. Boston Consulting Group (BCG) is this year’s tenth place holder, having climbed two places since 2016.
1. Google
2. L’Oréal Group
3. Microsoft
4. PwC (PricewaterhouseCoopers)
5 .EY (Ernst & Young)
7. Deloitte
8. Goldman Sachs
9. McKinsey & Company
10. The Boston Consulting Group (BCG)

Engineering/IT Trends
Just like their business counterparts, Europe’s Engineering/IT talent also cite having a work/life balance as their most important career goal, followed by job security/stability. To be entrepreneurial or creative/innovative continues to be the third most important career goal for engineering/IT students, meaning that these top three career goals have remained the same for three years in a row.
Innovation remains the top preference for engineering/IT students, followed by professional training and development, high future earnings and a creative and dynamic work environment.

“For this audience the need to find work environments where they can be innovative and drive change is key.  Therefore the environments and employers they seek to join are really those who have communicated this effectively. Besides rigid hierarchies, the real fear for engineering/IT talent when joining a big corporation is finding managers who will not understand the way they use technology in their work” said Tattanelli.

TOP 10 EMAE Rankings: Engineering/IT
Google and Microsoft have retained their respective first and second place spots, whilst IBM has climbed two positions since last year and pushed Siemens down into fourth place. General Electric (GE) now sits in fifth place, followed by fellow climber Daimler/Mercedes-Benz. Bosch and Airbus Group are non-movers in seventh and eighth place, followed by the BMW Group, which has dropped five places since last year. Intel is this year’s tenth place holder, having climbed one position since 2016.

  1. 1. Google
  2. 2. Microsoft
  3. 3. IBM
  4. 4. Siemens
  5. 5. General Electric (GE)
  6. 6. Daimler/Mercedes-Benz
  7. 7. Bosch
  8. 8. Airbus Group
  9. 9. BMW
  10. 10. Intel

Tattanelli finished by saying “What these top ranked employers have in common is that they have defined and developed really strong employer brand messages focused on helping new talent understand their culture fit and their environment. They have achieved this through a very high tech and high touch approach on campus and online. What they also have in common is that they are truly great places to work and their own employees have become their advocates which creates a  more powerful message for gen Y and Z than any flashy campaign”.

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About Universum:
Universum is the global leader in employer branding, during our 25+ years we have established ourselves in 60 markets throughout the globe and our diverse workforce is physically present in 20 countries. Our services include actionable research, strategic advisory, data-driven communication and social media solutions 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. We work with over 2000 universities, alumni groups, and professional organizations to gather insights from students and professionals in order to advise employers on how to attract and retain talent that fits their culture and purpose. On an annual basis Universum surveys over 1,500,000 students and professionals worldwide. Find out more at