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The World’s Most Attractive Employers 2020

By Universum on 01/10/2020


Amazon stands out in World’s Most Attractive Employers 2020 rankings 

STOCKHOLM, SWEDEN, October 1, 2020 – Universum’s World’s Most Attractive Employers rankings  show students entering the workforce are doubling down on financial security and innovation; “high future earnings” is the number one priority when weighing a potential employer (and a bigger priority than in 2019), followed closely by “innovation” for engineering and IT students (chosen by 46%). For all students surveyed, Google, Apple and Microsoft were the top three employer brands. In 2020, among the companies gaining the most points in the rankings: Amazon, Volkswagen, J.P. Morgan, Daimler AG and LVMH.

“This year we witnessed interesting shifts in industry preferences among students across the globe,” explains Richard Mosley, chief strategist at Universum. “Careers in professional services, banking and strategic consulting all dropped in prestige, while careers in IT, automotive and even manufacturing rose significantly. What we are witnessing is a strong desire among students to work for industries which are more associated with tech innovation which are shaping the future.”

Universum, the global leader in employer branding, surveyed over 219,500 students in business, engineering and IT from the 12 largest economies between October 2019 to April 2020. 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:

The tech and automotive industries rose significantly as destination industries for students. For business students, the tech and automotive industries were the biggest winners, each rising four points over the last 12 months; among engineering and IT students, top climbers included tech, automotive and manufacturing, all of which gained points in 2020.

Employer branding leaders must rethink work culture in the work-from-home era. Among business students, over 40% say they prioritize a “friendly work environment” (second only to “high future earnings” as an ideal employer attribute). For HR and employer branding leaders, the pressure is on to redefine company culture and community when the workforce is dispersed, and onboarding is done on-screen rather than in-person.

Students say they prioritize high compensation, but this priority may weaken as the economic downturn moves into 2021. High future earnings is the top priority for both business and IT/engineering students, but this ideal will likely face pressure as the newest cohort of graduates search for jobs during a recession.

Amazon has made huge strides over the last three years, rising 22 points among business students and 12 points among engineering and IT students. The company made a prescient switch to virtual recruiting of MBAs before the pandemic began, and its early efforts in virtual recruiting will likely continue to pay off in 2020.

“When the pandemic hit, leaders in employer branding were in crisis mode, reacting to a situation that was entirely new.” says Universum CEO Mats Röjdmark. “Now we see a shift to long-range planning; companies are focused on how to build best-in-class recruiting and employer branding programs that not only tolerate the new normal of virtual work, but leverage it in unique ways.”

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

About Universum

Universum, part of the StepStone Group, is a global thought leader in Employer Branding. With 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 an employer. Our data-led, human and meaningful output has attracted 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

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