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United States' Most Attractive Employers 2024 | Universum

By Universum, 2024-06-04

Universum has officially released the results of its 2024 Most Attractive Employers survey in the United States, providing key insights into the companies and sectors that are capturing the attention of the nation's students across various disciplines. With participation from over 43,000 students between September 2023 and April 2024, the survey presents fresh data, highlighting trends and employer preferences among the future workforce.

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Universum Talent Research Reveals Top Trends Shaping Student Preferences in the Job Market in the United States 

New York, June 4. Universum, the global leader in Employer Branding, has officially released the results of the Most Attractive Employers survey in the United States for 2024, providing key insights into the companies and sectors that are capturing the attention of the nation's students across various main fields of study. With participation from over 40,000 students between September 2023 to April 2024, the survey presents fresh data, highlighting trends and employer preferences among the future workforce. 

This report explores the evolving trends that are reshaping the job market, shedding light on the factors influencing employer attractiveness, salary expectations, and talent preferences. Here are the trends that are defining the current narrative: 

Tech Turmoil and Leadership Crisis:

The tech industry, despite facing layoffs and leadership challenges, continues to present a strong outlook for students. As students navigate the complexities of the tech sector, there is a growing emphasis on the need for new skills and collaborative teamwork. The sector's ability to adapt to emerging technologies and foster strong leadership will be crucial in attracting top talent in the coming years. The interest or need for leaders who will support the students’ development experienced a 4% increase since last year.  This is particularly important when referencing the data that IT students are considering more than 50 employers when looking for their next job, reinforcing the need for data driven, targeted strategic messages aligned with their top preferred attributes. 

"In the ever-evolving landscape of the tech industry, the ability to effectively navigate leadership challenges and proactively embrace new skills will play a crucial role in defining its attractiveness to the upcoming generation of talent," noted Senior Employer Branding Advisor, Jeff Rugg. 

Sustainability Takes Center Stage:

Sustainability now goes beyond environmental issues to significantly influence employer attractiveness. Students now view sustainability as a cultural imperative, with 44% of the students associating the word “sustainability” with the employer's responsibility to invest in employee development for long-term engagement. This shift underscores a broader societal shift towards organizations that prioritize sustainable practices and employee well-being. 

"The growing emphasis on sustainability as a cultural imperative not only underscores a broader shift towards responsible employer practices but also aligns with the values that resonate deeply with today's students," says Nikki Keeter, Employer Brand Advisor at Universum. 

Financial Security and Flexibility:

Financial services and technology industries are witnessing an increase in popularity among students, driven by the attributes of financial security and status. Students prioritize competitive base salaries and tangible offerings like flexible working conditions, indicating a strong focus on short- and long-term financial gains. The demand for clear advancement opportunities underscores the importance of transparency in career progression. 

"Beyond being mere benefits, financial security and flexibility have transformed into critical factors for students when assessing potential employers, highlighting the evolving priorities in the job market," emphasized Kortney Kutsop, Chief Sales Officer at Universum. 

Aerospace and Defense Industry Resurgence:

The aerospace and defense sectors are experiencing a resurgence in student interest, particularly among IT - in which the industry had a 6.5% increase in interest compared to last year. For engineering students, this is the #1 preferred industry to work for, with the interest continually rising year over year. These industries offer a blend of financial security and status that resonates with students seeking stability and growth opportunities. The alignment of these sectors with talent preferences reflects a strategic advantage in attracting top talent. 

Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion is Critical:

The call for diversity, equity, and inclusion is echoing across student preferences, with an increasing emphasis on employer reputation, culture, and job characteristics. Students, especially in the diversity group, prioritize workplaces that foster inclusivity and offer equal opportunities for all. This trend underscores the growing importance of diversity as a key driver of employer attractiveness and long-term employee engagement. 

When comparing this trend with the findings of Universum’s recently launched Employer Branding NOW 2024 report, there is a significant shift in how companies are approaching diversity, equity and inclusion (DEI) in their employer value propositions. When comparing this trend with the findings of Universum’s recently launched Employer Branding NOW 2024 report, there is a significant shift in how companies are approaching diversity, equity and inclusion (DEI) in their employer value propositions. In 2024, 46% of the World's Most Attractive Employers are including DEI in their EVP messaging; an increase of 8% compared to 2023. In contrast, only 23% of small, medium, and large employers who are not among the World's Most Attract Employers are including DEI as part of their messaging; a sharp decrease of nearly 15% compared to last year. This pullback is driven not by a change in values but by legal uncertainties and political pressures, particularly following the U.S. Supreme Court’s 2023 decision on affirmative action.   

The Employer Branding NOW 2024 report addresses this misalignment: while some employers prioritize "Inspiring Purpose" and DEI in their EVPs, these elements rarely top the list of what emerging talent finds most attractive. This disconnect suggests that while employers are focused on portraying certain values, they may need to better align their messaging with the actual priorities and preferences of the talent they seek to attract. This is where Universum's data can help bridge this gap by revealing critical insights that will transform your approach. 

About Universum Talent Research: 

Universum Talent Research is a leading provider of insights and data analysis in the talent acquisition space, offering comprehensive research products and strategic solutions to empower organizations in attracting and retaining top talent. 

The Universum 2024 Talent Insights report serves as a critical tool for employers in the United States, offering detailed analyses and trend forecasts that help navigate the complexities of the job market.  

For more information about the Universum 2024 Talent Insights report and to see a full list of top ranked employers in the United States, please visit our rankings page.  

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About Universum

Universum is a research company, specialized and world-leading in Employer Branding. Universum has 36 years of valuable experience in employer branding and is pioneers in the field. Universum is established in over 50 markets worldwide, with physical presence in 20 countries. Annually, Universum collaborates with 1,420 clients, including the majority of Fortune 500 companies, to attract and retain optimal employees. We collaborate with 1,000 universities and partners to compile surveys on career expectations and employer preferences.

For questions or interview requests, please contact:

Jeff Rugg

Sr Employer Brand Advisor, Americas jeff.rugg@universumglobal.com
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Nikki (Keeter) Trifunovic

Employer Brand Advisor, Americas nikki.keeter@universumglobal.com
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