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New research – Young Talent Prioritises Job Security in the Face of Uncertainty

By Universum on 06/10/2021

New research – Young Talent Prioritises Job Security in the Face of Uncertainty

The study also uncovers declining interest in startup careers and international careers among young talent in business, engineering and IT. 

STOCKHOLM, SWEDEN, October 6th — The 2021 World’s Most Attractive Employers rankings show students still prioritize high future earnings above all other employer attributes, but finding secure employment rose sharply in importance for young talent, jumping by as much as four ranking points for engineering students. Also, finding a creative and dynamic work environment — something closely associated with startup careers — dropped in priority for engineering and IT students.  

“A flight to security is typical during an economic downturn, as is the pivot away from higher risk, entrepreneurial companies,” explains Universum, Global Client Director, Richard Mosley. “This is probably why more established innovators with a proven record of success like Amazon and IBM were the biggest winners in the rankings.”   

Universum, the global leader in employer branding, surveyed over 221,800 students in business, engineering and IT from the 10 largest economies between September 2020 and May 2021. The far-reaching survey asks students which employer characteristics are most influential as they consider future employment, and which employer brands they most admire.  

Among other noteworthy findings from the research:  

Young people are pivoting their personal and career priorities: The pandemic prompted students to reevaluate what they want from an employer and a career — and research shows industries with long, grueling schedules may face a reckoning. For example, finding “challenging work” slipped three ranking points for engineering talent.  

For young talent, a jetset career slips in favor: With borders shut and international mobility significantly more difficult and uncertain, students show a waning interest in foreign companies and multinational careers. Across industries we see young people favoring companies headquartered in their home countries.  

Employers must consider whether virtual work formats disadvantage younger employees: Virtual and hybrid workforces are here to stay, but talent leaders must take care not to adopt a one-size-fits-all approach — particularly with young talent,  who see many potential downsides in virtual work formats. The Universum research shows “flexible work” is not a Top 10 priority for business, engineering or IT students.  

Employers should consider talent “personas” as they build their employer branding efforts: New analysis by Universum shows five key talent personas for young talent. Some young people, for example, may be career ‘go-getters’ who prioritize individual performance and career success, while others are ‘changemakers’ more focused on making a positive impact on the world. Understanding the five personas and uncovering which are attracted to your employer brand is a more nuanced way to think about talent gaps and opportunities. 

Universum CEO Mats Röjdmark believes the new findings will help steer talent leaders who may be stuck in a reactionary mode. “There’s tremendous pressure on talent leaders right now to separate what are short-term reactions to COVID-19, versus long-term changes to workplace fundamentals,” says Röjdmark. “While pundits may declare that virtual work is the future of employment, young talent doesn’t usually agree, according to our research. These kinds of signals are critical for talent leaders as they negotiate a way forward in 2022.” 

Business Top Ten

1. Google
2. Microsoft
3. Apple
4. Deloitte
5. L’Oréal Group 
6. Amazon
7. EY (Ernst & Young) 
8. KPMG
9. J.P. Morgan 
10. PwC (PricewaterhouseCoopers) 

Engineering Top Ten 

1. Google
2. Microsoft
3. BMW Group
4. Siemens

5. Apple
6. GE – General Electric 
7. Volkswagen Group
8. Intel
9. Daimler/Mercedes-Benz
10. Samsung

IT Top Ten 

1. Google
2. Microsoft
3. IBM
4. Apple
5. Amazon
6. Intel

7. Samsung
8. Cisco Systems
9. BMW Group
10. Sony

To download a copy of the World’s Most Attractive Employers report, which includes detailed insights about industry preferences, ideal employer brand attributes and rankings, visit www.universumglobal.com/wmae2021

About Universum 

Universum is a data-driven, insight-led employer branding agency. Founded in Stockholm, we are
now active in over 60 countries, with key hubs in Paris, Berlin, London, New York, Singapore and
Shanghai. We provide our clients with the research, strategy, and creative solutions they need to
compete more effectively for talent.