Skip to main content

Five Industries Saw Overwhelming Gains in Popularity this Year – Engineering Ranking

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 – 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.

Industry Trends

Five industries saw overwhelming gains in popularity this year with engineering students: Aerospace and Defense, Energy, Automotive, Industrial Engineering and Manufacturing, and Technology Hardware and Equipment. In these industries, even the companies that did not experience gains, primarily remained stable in attractiveness as employers—a feat in and of itself in today’s ever-changing recruitment space.

Two industries experienced a more significant overall decline in popularity with engineering students this year: Fast Moving Consumer Goods, and Public Sector and Governmental Agencies. Despite overall industry decreases though, certain companies managed to combat the adversity and prevailed with achieving increases in rank. For example, in the FMCG category, some companies that saw gains include: L’Oreal Group, Nestle, Conagra Brands, and Essity.

When looking across all industries, the highest gainers, in order of the number of positions gained, are Toyota, Honda, Chevron, Burns & McDonnell, and Marathon Oil—all of which, except Burns & McDonnell, fall under the automotive and energy industries, further supporting those industries’ overall increases this year.

Top Preferences overall

Innovation remains the #1 priority for Engineering students as a whole, but high future earnings has shown to have increased in importance from #5 last year to #2 this year. While a creative and dynamic work environment is not at the same level of priority as last year, young engineering talent now seems to be seeking stability in their employment, instead.

Diminishing the Gender Gap

For the first time, Universum’s data indicates an elimination of the expected salary gender gap for engineering students in the USA. Both male and female students this year reported a median expected salary of $70,000.

The Engineering field of study has seen a fairly steady incline in salary expectation over the past three years, up from $65,000 in 2017 to $70,000 this year. This expected salary is $10,000 higher than Business students’ this year, but $5,000 less than that of Computer Science students.

Freshmen vs. Seniors

Engineering students this year are listing both work-life balance and job security as their top two preferences when selecting an employer. When looking at these two attributes based on year of graduation, however, it is clear that while freshmen list both as about equally important, seniors have a pointedly stronger inclination toward employers offering work-life balance rather than job security. Universum’s 2019 data also holds a variety of other key insights about how students’ perspectives and values transform from freshman year through senior year. These points are especially important for college and university recruiters to understand when developing their targeting strategies.

Engineering Students’ Top 5 Employers
  1. Space X
  2. Tesla
  3. Google
  4. Boeing
  5. NASA

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