Skip to main content

The World’s Most Attractive Employer Rankings 2017

By Universum on 28/06/2017

2017’s WMAE results reveal that the majority of talent would prefer to work for medium sized employers

Stockholm, SwedenJune 28, 2017 – Universum Global has announced their 9th annual WMAE results with more than 290,000 business and engineering/IT students from the world’s 12 largest economies ranking the companies they find most desirable for employment. The WMAE rankings recognize global organizations actively implementing preferable employer attributes catered to talented students in both business and engineering/IT professions. This survey is the largest of its kind, delivering valuable insights to employers around the globe.
What type of employer students want to work for:
Students in both fields of study (74%) reported that they would prefer to work for a company with less than a 1000 employees. A larger proportion of talent from Germany, France, and Brazil would prefer to work for macro employers, but overall talent in these markets also said they would prefer to work for companies with less than 1000 employees.

“While this is surprising, we understand this is a direct result of the demographic answering the question – “generation impact.” This generation is passionate about innovation and making a difference in their careers. They perceive their impact to be much smaller in companies so large compared to their odds of making an impact in a medium-sized company with no more than 500 employees,” said Jonna Sjövall, Managing Director – Americas.

WMAE 2017 Business rankings Top 5:
1. Google (Non-mover since 2016)
2. Goldman Sachs (4th in 2016)
3. Apple (2nd in 2016)
4. EY (Ernst & Young) (3rd in 2016)
5. PwC (PricewaterhouseCoopers) (Non-mover since 2016)

This year Goldman Sachs has managed to overtake EY and Apple by making an impressive big leap from 4th to 2nd place. “Companies like Goldman Sachs are moving up in the attractiveness ranks because of their inspiring purpose, and offering of extensive training and development. These offerings empower employees, both impacting work and society,” said Universum’s CEO, Petter Nylander.

WMAE 2017 Engineering/IT rankings Top 5:
1. Google (Non-mover since 2016)
2. Microsoft (Non-mover since 2016)
3. Apple (Non-mover since 2016)
4. General Electric (6th in 2016)
5. BMW Group (4th in 2016)
Google has retained its 1st place positions in both fields of study, and continued to fight off Microsoft and Apple in the engineering/IT rankings, which remain in 2nd and 3rd place respectively.
Work-Life Balance Rivaled Only By Stability and Security
For business and engineering/IT students in all countries excluding Russia, India and Germany, work/life balance remains the overall top career goal. Results reveal Russian students in both fields of study still prefer job security, while Indian students in both fields of study are far more interested in having an international career than they are in other career goals.

“We know business students value leadership, prestige, and tradition- which is proven in the ranking. Goldman Sachs made a comparable leap from 4th to 2nd by providing their employees with leadership that maximizes individual potential and expands their professional opportunities, so they can contribute and build more positive communities,” said Sjövall.

The Key Takeaways for Business in 2017
This year the list of industries has expanded with the inclusion of e-commerce, insurance, and logistics. This combined with the recent increase of interest in software and computer development has caused banks, automotive and FMCGs, typically higher contenders for top talent globally, to decrease in ranking this year, however several individual companies from these industries, such as the Volkswagen Group, have continued to standout and climb in the rankings.
Industries like FMCGs still dominate the WMAE, but fewer students are reporting wanting to work for companies in this space. The survey revealed students thought many of the brands simply did not speak to them individually.
The top 3 preferred industries include management and strategy consulting, banking and financial services.
The Key Takeaways for Engineering/IT in 2017
Engineering/IT talent want to work in Software, Industrial Engineering and Manufacturing and Aerospace globally. With the exception of the BMW Group, Volkswagen Group and Ford Motoring Company (all three ranked within the top 20 in the Engineering/IT rankings) the Automotive sector as a whole is not seen as a go-to industry for Engineering/IT students.
Among engineering/IT talent in 2017, preferred industries include software, computer services, multimedia development and digital entertainment; few of which are surprising.
The shift in perceptions may have something to do with student goals post-graduation. Globally, both Business and Engineering/IT students had very similar goals for their careers, including working for an international company/organization with 36% of business students and 29% of Engineering/IT students listing it as a top goal. Remaining career goals have the two disciplines nearly neck in neck.
● Work for a privately-owned national company/organization: Business: 19%, Engineering/IT: 22%
● Continue studying: Business: 16%, Engineering/IT: 18%
● Start my own business: Business: 8%, Engineering/IT: 6%
● Work for a start-up: Business: 5%, Engineering/IT: 7%
However, of those who want to work for an international or national company or organization, the top 5 preferences for an employer differ considerably between business and engineering/IT. Business students are overwhelmingly motivated by high future earnings, while it’s the third most important priority for Engineering/IT. However, in the top two for both groups of students is a creative and dynamic work environment.
1. High future earnings
2. A creative and dynamic work environment
3. Leaders who will support my development
4. Professional training and development
5. Good reference for future career
1. A creative and dynamic work environment
2. Innovation
3. High future earnings
4. Professional training and development
5. Secure employment
The results of the World’s Most Attractive Employers survey are based on the responses of 294,663 business and engineering/IT students from the 12 largest economies in world (Brazil, Canada, China, France, Germany, India, Italy, Japan, Russia, South Korea, UK and USA). To be considered, companies must be ranked among the most attractive employers (Top 90% of the Universum Ideal Employer Ranking) in at least 6 of the 12 markets. Results are weighted by GDP, so that a high ranking position in the U.S. has a greater influence than a high ranking position in India, for example. The survey was conducted from October 2016 to June 2017, reaching 145,437 business students and 149,226 engineering/IT students.

About Universum Global:
Universum is the global leader in employer branding, during our 25+ years we have established ourselves in 60 markets throughout the globe and our diverse workforce is physically present in 20 countries. Our services include actionable research, strategic advisory, data driven communication and social media solutions for talent branding, sourcing and analytics. A trusted partner to over 1,700 clients, including many Fortune 500 companies, as well as global media partners that publish our annual rankings and trend reports. We work with over 2000 universities, alumni groups, and professional organizations to gather insights from students and professionals in order to advise employers on how to attract and retain talent that fits their culture and purpose. On an annual basis Universum surveys over 1,500,000 students and professionals worldwide. Find out more at