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UK’s Most Attractive Employers of 2018

By Universum on 18/07/2018

How can UK companies face the war for STEM talent?

Universum launches 2018 UK’s Most Attractive Employers Ranking, a close view on talent’s preferences at the workplace.

  • STEM students about to graduate this year consider Google and Apple as their top choice for employers, however their interest is increasing towards the banking industry.
  • The Big 4 are still attractive towards business students, however Financial service firms like J.P Morgan and Goldman Sachs have climbed positions to reach the top 10.
  • There is an average gap of £3,300 on the monthly salary expectations between male and female students.
  • Social media is still the most preferred communication channel to learn about employers, with Facebook still being the preferred platform.

London, July 18th 2018 – Today Universum Global launched its findings from the UK portion of its annual Global Talent Survey. This year we surveyed more than 44,000 students coming from 133 British Universities including over 20,000 students from Russell Group Universities. The students represent 145 different areas of study and they shared their opinions and views on their long term career goals and how their ideal employers look like. Data clearly shows how competition for talent is increasing year after year as the number of companies students are considering working for is steadily increasing.
Russell group universities selected to have work life balance as their top career goals consistently with the rest of the students surveyed. However, they also place high importance to be competitively or intellectually challenged rather than to be secure at their job, which is the second most important long term objective for students from the non-Russell group.

Which companies are the most attractive employers in the UK?

While Google maintains its top position for both business and STEM students, this year companies within the Financial Services, such as Morgan Stanley, HSBC and Deutsche Bank, have risen significantly for business students. STEM students, on the other hand, have increased their preference for Arup, Siemens and Lockheed Martin, placing them in the top 30. Lamborghini, a first-timer in our list, made a strong entrance by achieving the 11th spot in the STEM ranking.
This year’s top 10 most attractive employers are:


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


  1. Google
  2. Rolls-Royce
  3. Microsoft
  4. BAE Systems
  5. Jaguar Land Rover
  6. Apple
  7. McLaren
  8. Aston Martin
  9. Airbus
  10. Boeing

The salary expectations this year show a consistent difference between male and female students, with an average expected salary of £29,848 for business male students, versus £26,410 for business female students. For STEM students the expectation is of £29,130 versus £27,151 for male and female respectively. Attention around the gender pay gap has increased due to the fact that earlier this year companies in the UK with more than 250 employees had to report about the gap between the median hourly rate between men and women. ( Source: Financial Times ).Salary expectations differ by gender, main field of study and preferred industry

Given the lack of female STEM talent in the UK, it becomes crucial for companies to understand what this target is interested in and what their expectations are in order to attract them. In this year’s study, Universum found out that the salary gap for STEM talent is much less pronounced than for business students. On average, female STEM talent are expecting £1,979 less per year in salary than their male counterparts, while female business students expect £3,438 less in
average than male. In addition, female STEM talent who want to work in the banking sector expect more in salary than their male counterparts,

Female STEM talent addresses the topics of ethics and gender equality in the workplace

Together with future earnings and professional training and development, STEM students also value innovation, which is not within the top attributes for business talent. We also see that female STEM talent is looking more and more for an employer that supports gender equality, as well as ethical standards. Their male counterparts are on the other hand, attracted by employers who provide prestige and high level of responsibility.

More than 50% of talent see employer advertising on Facebook

Both business and STEM talent regularly use Facebook for both career and social purposes. Employers are clearly waking up to this trend as almost 60% of business and STEM talent have noticed information from employers through Facebook, while 38% of STEM talent are actively following employers on the online platform.

See the full top 100 list and find out more about the UK’s Most Attractive Employers at: