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Tech & Banking Sectors Most Attractive Employers for New Business Graduates

By Universum on 04/06/2019

Annual survey by Universum Global shows tech, banking sectors atop the list of most attractive employers for new graduates entering the job market; culture and environment are the most important factors when choosing an employer.


New York, June 4th, 2019 – Banking jobs are once again on the rise for new grads in the United States. After regaining trust among business students, as shown in last year’s Universum survey, almost all top 100 banks saw an impressive increase for the ideal Employer Ranking among business students. This data comes from Universum Global’s Most Attractive Employer List 2019, released today. The annual survey is based on responses from 53,237 students from 218 universities across the U.S., across 151 areas of study.

Today, Universum released its 2019 United States research on young talent employer preferences and ideal employers. The report is based on the firm’s annual survey of students and young professionals from leading colleges and universities across the country; the 2019 survey also saw a 77% increase in Ivy League participants. Universum’s report also includes Ideal Employer rankings, segmented by field of study.

With a strong representation of students from all fields of study, most notably Business, Engineering, and Computer Science, Universum’s report offers valuable insights into young talent’s employer attribute preferences, compensation expectations, and career aspirations. Findings from this data provide insights for employers to understand ways in which they’re succeeding in graduate recruitment and retention, where they have room for improvement, and how to progress proactively.

Key findings from the report include:

  • Top 30 business rankings show a mix of financial services, professional services, tech, strong consumer brands and a couple of government agencies
  • Google once again holds the number one position but loses almost 2 percentage points in popularity
  • P. Morgan Chase jumped to number one in the potential applicants ranking when students were asked how likely they were to apply for a job there after graduation

Banking on the rise

Older students voted in higher numbers in favor of working for banks, and in lower numbers for Google and Amazon. Conversely, Google and Amazon ranked higher among new grads.

“The more students learn about what they can do with their educational background and about the actual job, the more likely they are to vote for the banks”, says Jonna Sjovall, Managing Director for Universum Americas. “We see the same trend for professional services. The big graduate recruiters need more time to build relationships on-campus relationships and connect digitally with the students. When students are choosing their first employer post-graduation, they have a clearer understanding of what roles within banks and professional services will entail, and what their professional development will look like,” she continues.

Within this industry, the report shows close competition between J.P. Morgan Chase and Goldman Sachs. J.P. Morgan ranked number two when polling all students, whereas Goldman was number five among all total respondents. In response to their jump of four positions this year, J.P. Morgan replied:

“We’re proud that our core values as a company and employer – innovation, community investment, and diversity & inclusion – are being recognized as valuable by students. Through targeted programs like Women on the Move and Advancing Black Pathways, as well as showcasing opportunities for employees to develop cutting edge technologies or volunteer in their communities, clearly, students are excited to start their careers at JPMorgan Chase.” – Matt Mitro, Global Head of Campus Recruiting, JPMorgan Chase & Co.

Culture as the winning argument

This year students had more choice than ever and as a result, new companies joined the list. The Universum methodology reveals that business students consider an average of 34.9 employers and computer science students as many as 46.6 on average.

“Compared to 5 years ago, the students show a broad interest in a variety of industries. Earlier students chose one or two industries based on their major, but now they choose everything from one startup, one tech firm, one global bank, one big American industry player and one consulting firm,” says Sjovall. “It is not enough to be attractive, in general, companies also need to differentiate within the industry to convince a student to pick you. Successful new entrants to the list were focused  on communicating the appeal of their culture and work environment.”

Two newcomers that have performed exceptionally well are Spotify (no 14) and Buzzfeed (no 19). Spotify has recruited heavily for their new New York office, and is well-known for its Nordic, flexible culture with a focus on employee wellbeing. When asked about their new recruitment strategies that could explain this jump, Spotify’s Global Culture Director Robert Käck said:

“We also invite prospective interns to our offices, giving them backstage access to see what life at Spotify is really like through our student events. Whether it’s coding at a hackathon, rocking out on a band night, or kicking back to one of our fireside chats –  students can really get a sense of the Spotify culture.”

Both Spotify and Buzzfeed are performing well on important cultural attributes for students, such as “a creative and dynamic work environment,” (Of all employers on the list Buzzfeed is the employer most associated with creativity,) “flexible working conditions,” “a friendly work environment” and “fast-growing or entrepreneurial”. Netflix, well known for its culture, strengthens its position and enters the top 10.

“Overall, business students have many options, and they are very keen on learning more about what employers have to offer. A combined high tech and high touch approach, where employers utilize digital channels smartly but still show interest in students on campus, leads to results.”

Click here to download the full ranking and find out more about the most current career goals and preferences of US talent


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 a company. 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