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World’s Most Attractive Employers 2018

By Universum on 19/09/2018

US-based Employers More Attractive than Ever Before

New YorkNew York — September 19th, 2018 – Today, Universum announced its 10th annual World’s Most Attractive Employers (WMAE) results with more than 225,000 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.

A Decade of WMAE

One of the best things about Universum’s WMAE ranking is that after three years, five years, a decade, you start to notice more than short-term trends, and can see past the winners or losers of a specific industry or category for that one year” said Universum CEO, Petter Nylander.
Nylander continued “The balance of power has definitely shifted since 2009 when the WMAE ranking began. Back then European-based employers made up 52% of the WMAEs, but today US-based employers now dominate the top 50 for both Business and Engineering/IT, supplanting their European counterparts which now represent 42% of employers in this year’s ranking. In 2009 employers from APAC only represented 2% of the WMAEs, this year they represent a modest 6%, but our prediction is that the pace of this increase will quicken over the next decade.”

2018 Business and Engineering/IT Student Trends

Business and engineering/IT students say they want to work in almost opposite industries, with the former focused squarely on Professional Services-type firms (PSFs) and the latter on software, aerospace, and manufacturing. But in practice, the majority of the World’s Most Attractive Employers on both sides of the aisle are FMCG firms, automotive employers, and banks.
Both business and tech talent essentially agree on some core desires, including work/life balance and job security, in addition to high future earnings, training/development opportunities, supportive leaders, and a creative and friendly work environment.

“It is very important to note that in this year’s rankings we have seen a very strong influence of the Gen Z population weighing in, which explains the strong increase in the importance of working for an employer who offers high future earnings (up 13% from 2012)” said Universum’s Chairman of the Strategic Advisory Board, Claudia Tattanelli. Tattanelli continued, “Younger generations are also especially focused on professional training (up 8% from 2012) this also explains why banks have really solidified and increased their positions in many markets in the past year, as they are associated very much with offering the high future earnings. This also explains the large increase in popularity of professional services and management consulting firms, which are not only associated with providing good salaries but are also very well known for being great places to launch a career and receive training.”

WMAE 2018 Business and Engineering/IT Rankings

While Google and Goldman Sachs managed to retain their respective first and second-place positions, Apple, fell from third to seventh place and was replaced by last year’s fourth-place holder EY (Ernst & Young). Deloitte has taken over the fourth place position after climbing two places since 2017, while KPMG leaped from ninth to fifth place, which pushed PwC (PricewaterhouseCoopers) on to the sixth-place spot.
Among both business and tech talent, PSFs have seen the most significant ranking increases over the last five years, especially Goldman Sachs, EY, The Boston Consulting Group, and McKinsey. The employers in these industries are among the best associated with talents’ top preferences around high future earnings and professional training/development. Software, hardware, and electronics employers have seen some of the most significant declines since last year in both the business and engineering/IT rankings.

WMAE 2018 Business rankings Top 5:
1. Google (Non-mover since 2017)
2. Goldman Sachs (Non-mover since 2017)
3. EY (Ernst & Young) (4th in 2017)
4. Deloitte (6th in 2017)
5. KPMG (9th in 2017)

Google has once again maintained its first place positions in both fields of study and continued to fight off Microsoft and Apple in the engineering/IT rankings, which remain in second and third place respectively. BMW Group climbed one position this year from fifth to fourth place, which means that Intel is the only newcomer to the engineering/IT top 5.

 WMAE 2018 Engineering/IT rankings Top 5:
1. Google (Non-mover since 2017)
2. Microsoft (Non-mover since 2017)
3. Apple (Non-mover since 2017)
4. BMW Group (5th in 2017)
5. Intel (7th in 2017)

Work-Life Balance Rivaled Only By Stability

Both business students and engineering/IT students cite work-life balance and stability as key attributes in a future employer; it’s important to keep in mind, however, that “balance” for a Gen Z professional can mean something quite different than it did for older generations. Consider Gen Z is the first generation to grow up understanding that technology allows you to work wherever and whenever you would like. Why work a traditional 9 to 5 schedule in a “cubicle farm” when one can just as easily work remotely—even as a digital nomad.

“Being part of a work culture where they can be productive and work hard but attain a healthy work-life balance has become something that Gen Z is not willing to compromise on. Google, Apple, Adidas, Amazon, and Microsoft are all great examples of employers that put great emphasis on communicating through videos, social campaigns and employee testimonials to draw attention to their culture at work rather than the jobs they offer.  In doing so, these employers underline how important it is to them to foster friendly, flexible, inclusive, stable, and creative environments where the sky is the limit” said Tattanelli.



The results of the World’s Most Attractive Employers survey are based on the responses of 228,910 business and engineering/IT students from the 12 largest economies in the world (Brazil, Canada, China, France, Germany, India, Italy, Japan, Russia, South Korea, the UK, and the 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. This year’s survey was conducted from October 2017 to April 2018, reaching 110,843 business students and 118,067 engineering/IT students.

About Universum:
Universum is the global leader in employer branding, during our 30 years, we have established ourselves in 60 markets globally 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 2,000 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 www.universumglobal.com.