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Nordic Ranking 2018: Nordic Talent is Becoming More Diverse

By Universum on 26/06/2018

  • PwC is the most attractive employer among business students, while Microsoft retains its top spot among Nordic engineering students.
  • Management Consulting is the most attractive industry to work for, while the banking sector drops in popularity in all countries apart from Denmark.
  • “Work/life balance” is the top career goal in Sweden, Denmark and Finland and the second most important in Norway.
  • All Nordic students want “to be competitively or intellectually challenged.”

STOCKHOLM, June 26th, 2018 – Today Universum released the findings from the Nordic portion of its annual Global Talent Survey. Set out to track career aspirations and preferences of the future talent pool, the Nordic’s Most Attractive Employers 2018 reflects the opinions of more than 56,000 students from over 100 educational institutions in all four Nordic countries (Denmark, Finland, Norway and Sweden) to recognize the most coveted employers based solely on the responses collected.


Compiled from the Universum Student Surveys conducted in four Nordic markets, the 2018 Nordic ranking includes all employers that are in the top 90% of a ranking in at least 2 of the four markets. If an employer is not listed or 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 Sweden has a larger influence than a high ranking place in Finland.

Preferences, Career Goals & Most Attractive Industries

Management/Strategy Consulting is the most attractive industry among all students in the Nordics except for Finland, where the public sector has done an outstanding job and was ranked as number one by Finnish talent.  Looking at business students, we see that banks and financial services have dropped in attractiveness, while the tourism and hospitality industry together with software and computer service industries have become more attractive. When looking at what makes an employer attractive, we see that high future earnings remain at the top, followed by leaders who will support my development and a good reference for a future career.
Looking at differences between the four countries we see that Remuneration & Advancement opportunities together with People and Culture are essential in Sweden and Denmark but less so in Finland and Norway, where talent place more importance on taking job characteristics into the consideration when considering an employer.
Energy, biotech, and chemicals are all industries that are rising in popularity, while Management and Strategy, Hardware and Computer Services industry have all suffered a dip in popularity among Nordic Engineering students.
The reason for choosing an employer differs from country to country. In Sweden, talent want a creative and dynamic work environment; in Norway, they seek an employer that can offer a friendly work environment, in Finland, they prefer a variety of assignments, while Danish talent are seeking high future earnings.

“When looking at the data we see that Nordic student seem to be more divided then ever. This, of course, puts more pressure on the employer, forcing an employer to both address the way of working and the way of communicating depending on the country.” Said Claes Peyron, Managing Director of Universum Nordics.

2018 Nordic Rankings Top 10

Microsoft and EY (Ernst & Young) retain their top spots in Engineering and Business Rankings. The Business top 10 remains very stable this year with PwC, EY and Mckinsey & Company holding on their respective first, second and third place positions. Microsoft climbed two places and now sits in fourth place, followed by Deloitte who dropped one place since 2017. The Boston Consulting Group (BCG) and KPMG both climb one position and are now sit respectively in 7th and 8th place.

Peyron continued “It´s no surprise that the accounting firms have realized the importance of the people, you see this in many of our rankings globally. They continue to be the locomotive when it comes to attracting new employees, which of course will be crucial for their long lasting business goals.”

The Engineering top ten also remains very stable this year with Microsoft, Sweco, Ramboll and Siemens in the top four. The only significant change is that Sweco climbed one place which resulted in Ramboll being pushed into third place. Similarly, Google was pushed to sixth place, after ABB took over fifth place. Non-movers McKinsey & Company and Skanska, NCC and The Boston Consulting Group (BCG) remain in seventh, eighth, ninth and tenth place.

Peyron added “Employers that can offer success, innovation and sustainable products are the employers that will continue attracting students. As you know engineering students are not easy to attract, so if you want to win them over, you will need to be able to offer at least one of the three, preferably all, in order to get them to work for you.”

For more info and full rankings please visit our dedicated 2018 Nordic Ranking page

About Universum:
ACCESS THE NEW WORLD OF TALENT. Universum is a global leader in employer branding. Over the past 30 years, we have established ourselves in 50 markets globally and our diverse workforce is physically present in 20 countries. Our services include actionable research, strategic consulting, and data-driven communications and social media solutions for talent branding, sourcing, and analytics. We are a trusted partner to over 1,700 clients, including many Fortune 500 companies, as well as to global media partners that publish our annual rankings and trend reports. We work with over 2,000 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