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Switzerland's Most Attractive Employers 2021

By Universum, 2021-06-09

Zurich, June 4, 2021 – This year’s Universum Student Ranking of the most attractive employers in Switzerland shows the changes in what students look for in an ideal employer brought on by over a year of lockdown. While the top attributes have been stable, we have seen some drastic changes when it comes to the workplace and environment – especially when it comes to IT students.

The growing importance for students of a friendly work environment, work-life balance, and secure employment after the lockdown – Universum Student Ranking 2021

This year, 11,860 university students in Switzerland participated in the Universum student survey. The study, conducted from October 2020 to March 2021, confirmed some long-term trends, but also revealed new findings.

Banks were stable and growing with business students throughout the pandemic

For business students, Banks have been able to keep their top spots, even gaining some compared to last year. Six banks have made the top 20 most attractive employers for business students this year. UBS (rank 2) and Credit Suisse (rank 3) top the podium behind Google, with Credit Suisse gaining a rank since last year. They are followed by Swiss National Bank (SNB) ranked 8th and Goldman Sachs ranked 10th, both gaining two ranks since last year. Bank Julius Bär rising to the occasion gaining 12 ranks since last year, making it to the 18th spot on our list. Google keeps its top spot for Business, Engineering, and IT students; however, they have been losing votes showing that even the tech giant hasn’t made it out of the pandemic without a scratch.

Female students as agents for societal and company change

Are young Swiss women the best asset for Swiss companies to accelerate their transformation? If we look at female students, in particular, we can see a shift happening and feel that they are ready, willing, and able to be the agents of societal change. “Female students want equality now and are ready to implement change” informs Leo Marty, Managing Director of Universum Switzerland and Austria. Themes such as support for gender equality and high future earnings have gained greatly in importance this year for female business students. They are also looking for employers that show respect for their employees, emphasise teamwork as well as provide fast growth and entrepreneurial setting. Leo Marty added, “I believe female students in Switzerland are hungry for change and will be the driving force behind social change in Switzerland bringing the country forward on these society-defining issues”.

Sustainability is also a hot topic among students when it comes to choosing an employer. Over 30% of students in Switzerland said that sustainability topics influenced at least partially their choices when it comes to employers. Women lead the way here too with this number going up to almost 50% for female students.

A friendly work environment, work-life balance, and secured employment gaining in importance for Business, IT, and Natural Sciences students

High future earnings, leadership opportunities, and providing a good reference for one’s future career are still important factors, but we can see a definite rise in the importance of how the company treats its employees. For business students, a friendly work environment and an encouraging work-life balance have made it into the top 10 preferences when it comes to what makes an employer attractive.  

We saw the biggest shift within the IT students. A friendly work environment, which has been absent from the top 10 in the last two years, is now the defining attribute of an attractive employer. Other themes such as encouraging work-life balance, showing respect for its people, and support for gender equality have also gained significance.

Moreover, secure employment has increased among the students of natural sciences and made it into the top 10. “The young generation has been very attentive when it comes to how companies have treated their employees during the pandemic. They were hit hard and between 30-40% of the students expect a big to very big impact of the Covid-19 pandemic and economic development on their career. A friendly work environment is now not just a hygiene factor, but a defining one,” assures Leo Marty, Managing Director of Universum Switzerland and Austria.

Find the full Universum ranking here: www.universumglobal.com/rankings/switzerland/

About Universum

Universum is a data-driven, insight-led employer branding agency. Founded in Stockholm, we are now active in over 60 countries, with key hubs in Paris, Berlin, London, New York, Singapore and Shanghai. We provide our clients with the research, strategy and creative solutions they need to compete more effectively for talent.

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