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Singapore’s Most Attractive Employers 2019

By Universum on 10/07/2019

Banks experiencing a noticeable increase in desirability among Singapore’s Business Talent

Singapore,  July 10th 2019 – Last week, Universum launched the findings from the Singapore portion of its large annual Global Talent Survey. This year saw more than 10,000 participating students from Singapore’s leading universities share their opinions and views on their career goals and ideal employers.  Set out to track career aspirations and preferences of the future talent pool, Singapore’s Most Attractive Employers 2019 recognises the most coveted employers based solely on the responses collected.

Max Loh, Country Managing Partner Singapore and Brunei for Ernst & Young, said; “Being recognised as one of Singapore’s most attractive employers by students across different disciplines, such as Business, Engineering/ Natural Sciences and IT, is a testament to EY’s sustained efforts in attracting skilled talent. At EY, all of us share a common purpose of building a better working world, not just for our clients, but also for our people and society. In this age of disruption, we believe that the best investment is in our people, and we prepare our people for the future of work by having talent programs that help them develop and grow their individual careers. For example, we have EY Badges for our people to learn and earn credentials upon completion of future-focused skills training. Additionally, we also adopted LEAD, a global model for career development and performance at EY that encourages real-time feedback and better conversations, which in turn supports the continuous learning and development of our people.”

Salary expectations have increased

This year’s survey shows a steady year-on-year increase in the salary expectations among Singaporean students. Interestingly, the salary expectations among IT graduates are significantly higher compared to both business and commerce and engineering and natural sciences students. Something that echoes the increased demand for a very low supply of technical and digital talent in Singapore. When asked about their salary expectations, the average expected annual salary for IT graduates is SGD 53, 721 – 20% higher than graduates of business and engineering students.

Banking industry gaining popularity among business students

This year, 44% of business talent chose banking as their most preferred industry, with most of the banks experiencing a noticeable climb in their desirability, including Credit Suisse (+35), Goldman Sachs (+7), DBS (+4) and J.P. Morgan (+2) being some of the biggest gainers in the business ranking. The sector’s rise in popularity can be partly attributed to students’ strong desire to work for an international organisation as their first job after graduation. It is interesting to see over 50% of students want to start their professional career at an international company, something that’s clearly reflected in the Top 100 Business Rankings: 7 out of the top 10 companies are international companies.

The public sector faced an overall decline in their ranking positions. Business students indicated not knowing enough about public sector employers and the intense competition to get hired as the two main reasons for not selecting the public sector as a preferred industry.

Mike Parsons, managing director APAC for Universum, said; “The demand for digital and IT talent in Singapore continues to increase. Not only does the survey highlight the pressure this is putting on salaries, this trend is pushing employers, especially non-traditional employers of digital talent, to be more strategic and segmented with what they offer and communicate. And the messaging is working too, shown by the way banks have risen to the second most preferred industry for IT talent ahead of more natural choices, such as E-commerce and tech hardware. The banks are back in a big way. Sadly, the same can’t be said for the public sector, who’ve experienced strong losses across the board and are losing their appeal amongst the current crop of graduates”.

Top Career Goals

As seen in past years, students chose “to have work/life balance” and “to be secure or stable in my job” as their number one and two career goals respectively. This shows Millennials and Gen Z still value work-life balance most.

The survey revealed business and commerce students chose “to be a leader or manager of people” as their third most important career goal. In contrast, engineering and natural science students continued to rank “to be dedicated to a cause or to feel that I am serving a greater good” as their third most important to them.

Jason Tan, Country Head and People & Organisation Singapore & Asian Emerging Markets for Novartis, said; “We are proud to be recognised as one of the top employers in Singapore. At Novartis, we take great care in communicating the purpose of what we do and our aspirations to be a trusted, leading medicines company that improve and extend people’s lives. A big part of this is placing culture at the heart of our business. Throughout our organisation, we take pride in promoting an inspired, curious and unbossed culture that empowers our people to tackle operational or big scientific and healthcare challenges, driving long-term value for society and our shareholders. Beyond work, we also have systems in place that help our people manage their energy, improve their overall well-being and give back meaningfully to the local community. Our purpose-driven culture continues to attract and retain a diverse group of talents who believe in working together to reimagine medicine in Singapore and beyond.”

Students’ Choice of Communication Channel

When taking the survey, students were asked about the communication channels they use to research their future employers. Both business and commerce and IT students indicated social media as the most important source of information for them. Engineering and natural sciences students, however, indicated that they learnt most about their employers through career fairs.

Singapore’s Top 10 Business and STEM Employers 2019


1. Google

2. J.P. Morgan

3. Singapore Airlines

4. DBS

5. Walt Disney Company

6. Goldman Sachs

7. PwC (PricewaterhouseCoopers)

8. Changi Airport Group

9. EY (Ernst & Young)

10. Apple


1. Google


3. Singapore Airlines

4. Rolls-Royce

5. ST Engineering

6. GSK (GlaxoSmithKline)

7. Changi Airport Group


9. Apple

10. Ministry of Health (MOH)

Download the full 2019 Universum Rankings and find out more about the career goals and preferences of talent in Singapore

About Universum

Universum, part of the StepStone Group, is a global thought leader in Employer Branding. With over 30 years of valuable experience in the field of employer branding, we have established ourselves in 60 markets globally, and our diverse workforce is physically present in 20 countries. We are uniquely positioned through our talent surveys to deliver key insights to recruiters about what future talent is looking for in a company. Our data-led, human and meaningful output has attracted more than 1,700 clients, including many Fortune 500 companies, as well as global media partners that publish our annual rankings and trend reports. Find out more at