Europe´s Ideal Employers 2011

Universum, a Swedish-based employer branding consultancy, reveals its research on the continent’s most ambitious career-seekers and presents their choice of Ideal Employers. Based on 60,700 employer evaluations, reflecting the opinions of 19,890 students studying at Europe’s top academic institutions, Apple and Google are respectively no. one for business and engineering students.

Universum announced today the results of its annual Pan-European employer image survey. In the business ranking Apple beats Google (no. 2) and McKinsey and Company takes third place away from L’Oréal. In the engineering ranking, Google comes first followed by Audi and EADS, pushing back BMW and Apple which were respectively no. two and three last year. For natural sciences, IT and humanities students, Google continues to be the employer of choice. Nevertheless, Apple is a serious contender, taking second place in nearly all rankings except in the IT category where it’s Microsoft. Based on the number of student nominations that a company receives as an ideal employer across Europe’s most prestigious academic institutions, Universum produces a ranking dubbed the Universum Top 100. The Pan-European rankings reflect the level of employer attractiveness that organisations have overall in Europe’s interconnected graduate recruitment of top talent. Interestingly, Europe’s most exclusive group of university students associate their favourite employers mostly with good reputation (72%), market success (70%) and prestige (66%), and the least with CSR (33%) and high ethical standards (30%) – a confirmation that students are thinking strategically about their career and are focused on building their personal brand foremost as opposed to concerns over responsible or sustainable business per se.

“The prestige and market success of an employer is important for today’s young career-seekers who are studying at Europe’s best universities; it’s all about vanity and one’s external image, the personal brand…´how can I impress my peers?’ is the obsession for this ambitious class of students. In fact, attractive employers have certain common attributes for them. They are known to provide challenging work, a good reference to a future career, and recruit only the best…but their general public reputation and market success clearly puts them in the limelight”, said Petter Nylander, Universum’s CEO.

With 135 nationalities represented in the Pan-European survey, the multicultural and diverse composition of the top academic institutions in Europe is well reflected. Interestingly, having asked students about their chances of getting a job with their favourite employer, i.e. within 6 months after graduation, the most optimistic students were the Germans (57%), Norwegians (56%) and Ukrainians (54%) – more than half of each nationality were confident to very confident about landing a job with their ideal employer. At the other end, the least positive students, as can be expected due to dismal economic conditions back home, were the Italians (29%), Irish (27%), Greeks (26%), British (25%) and Spanish (18%) – where less than a third truly believed in arriving at their ultimate career destination

Europe’s Top 10 Ideal Employers by field of study

In parenthesis is the ranking position of the company in 2010.

Business: 1. Apple, 2. Google, 3. McKinsey & Company (4), 4. L’Oréal (3), 5.The Boston Consulting Group, 6.Goldman Sachs (10), 7. The Coca-Cola Company (6), 8. Procter & Gamble (12), 9. PwC (7), 10. J.P. Morgan (15)

Engineering: 1. Google, 2. Audi (4), 3. EADS (7), 4. BMW (2), 5. Apple (3), 6. Siemens (5), 7. Boeing (8), 8. Porsche (6), 9. Ferrari, 10. Lufthansa Group

IT: 1. Google, 2. Microsoft, 3. Apple (4), 4. IBM (3), 5. Intel, 6. Nokia, 7. Oracle (8), 8. Accenture (10), 9. BMW (16), 10. Sony Ericsson (12)
Natural Sciences: 1. Google, 2. Apple, 3. GlaxoSmithKline (4), 4. Roche (7), 5. Novartis, 6. Bayer (3), 7. Microsoft (8), 8. Pfizer (6), 9. IBM (14), 10. Nestlé (9)

Humanities: 1. Google, 2. Apple, 3. L’Oréal, 4. IKEA, 5. The Coca-Cola Company, 6. Microsoft (7), 7. The World Bank, 8. Lufthansa Group, 9. Sony (8), 10. Nike (13)

Universum provides rankings by five main fields of study: business, engineering, IT, natural science and humanities. After more than 20 years of surveying students globally, Universum knows that students from different main fields of study have different ideal employers. Our rankings and data are split by these groups to offer employers more reliable and instrumental data.

The key research highlights

Business students

Job security is not a priority for business students from the top European schools

Management consulting firms and banks are climbing the business ranking. These employers are highly associated with high revenues and bonuses and less associated with job security. After years of investing in their studies, students want to get rewarded for their efforts and are seeking higher remunerations.

Banks have recovered lost employer brand appeal from the recession

The best in industry is Goldman Sachs, ranked sixth. Deutsche Bank is the highest climber amongst business students climbing +9 places from 24 in 2010 to 15 this year. Other banks that climbed the business ranking include:  Barclays (+5 places), Credit Suisse (+5 places), J.P. Morgan (+5 places), Goldman Sachs (+4 places), Morgan Stanley (+4 places), HSBC (+2 places) and Royal Bank of Scotland (+1 place). In 2010 all banks dropped in popularity for business students.

Students favour employers that provide challenging work and a good reference to a future career

The top employers for business students are strongly associated to challenging work and a good reference to a future career.  On the other end, they are least associated to high ethical standards and secure employment. For example, 84 per cent and 83 per cent respectively associate BCG and McKinsey and Co. to challenging work and 85 per cent think both employers provide a good reference to a future career.

Engineering students

Rough times ahead for the consumer electronics industry

European engineers are less drawn to the consumer electronics sector than before. Employers such as Sony, Nokia, Dell and Sony Ericsson all lost more than 10 positions in the engineering ranking. With the exception of Apple, being the best in the industry and ranked at 5th place, all other employers in the sector lost spots: Nokia (-18 places), Dell (-14 places), Sony (-13 places) and Philips (- 2 places). A plausible explanation for the drop in consumer electronics overall is the lack of shown interest in the industry and the level of brand prestige that such employers offer. Only six per cent of engineering students selected consumer electronics as one of their preferred industries to work in. Furthermore, European engineers are very attracted to companies that offer good entry salaries, something which these employers are not strongly associated to – a definite turnoff factor for these ambitious students. For Nokia’s situation specifically, its troubles to revive itself and loss of market share have impacted its employer brand appeal in a number of markets – it will have to work hard to regain public confidence.

Despite environmental concerns, there is no clear indication that Oil & Gas is losing attraction

Shell is the best in industry, ranked 11th. Total is the highest climber amongst engineering students climbing +14 places from 50 in 2010 to 36 this year and BP climbed +3 places to 23. Esso/ExxonMobil and Schlumberger are the only listed companies that both dropped 7 places to 41 and 43 respectively.

“The only thing worse than being talked about is not being talked about” – Oscar Wilde
Despite a full year of bad press, following the oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico, BP strengthened its position as an attractive employer among European students and gained positions in both the engineering and natural sciences rankings (+17 places).

Preference shown for prestigious employers and companies that produce innovative and exciting products & services

Seventy-six per cent of students associate Google to innovative products and services, whereas 56% per cent of students associate the average employer, listed in the survey, to this attribute. Similarly, winning employers are also strongly linked to prestige – 72 per cent of students perceive the top five employers, in the engineering ranking, to be prestigious as opposed to 62 per cent for the average employer.

Men versus women – stereotypes and clichés are confirmed

The favourite employer for men studying business is Google (no. 1), while for women it is L’Oréal (no.1). The employer that is equally attractive, however, for both business men and women is Apple (no. 2). Yet differences in desired choice of employers are highly noticeable between certain industry sectors. The research shows that the Fast Moving Consumer Goods (FMCG) industry is generally perceived as being more attractive for women, whereas men prefer the automotive and banking sectors.

FMCG more appealing to women

Companies like L’Oréal, for example, are first choice for female students studying business, whereas their male counterparts rank the company at 39. Similarly, there is a difference of 23 positions for Procter & Gamble (no. 5 for females and no.28 for males), 22 places for Nestlé (no. 5 for females and no. 29 for males) and 27 places for Unilever (no.10 for women and no. 37 for men).

Men like cars and banks

All the car manufacturers and especially the premium brands like Porsche, Ferrari, Daimler/Mercedes-Benz appeal more to male than to female engineers. Interestingly, the biggest difference in rankings was with Daimler/Mercedes-Benz – ranked 26 for men and 65 for women. Also, Volkswagen appeals more to men – ranked 17 for men versus 55 for women.

The banks typically appeal more to men than women too. For business students the differences in ranking positions between men and women are: -26 places for Morgan Stanley, -20 places for Deutsche Bank, -19 places for Goldman Sachs, and -15 places for J.P. Morgan.

General differences in career aspirations

To be a leader or manager of people (34% of men vs. 22% of women) and a technical or functional expert (22% of men vs. 14% of women) were more important to men, whereas women gave more importance to secure employment (36% of women vs. 26% of men) and to be dedicated to a cause or serve a greater good (32% of women vs. 23% of men). The prestige of working for a great company is more important for men (31% of men vs. 24% of women), whereas high ethical standards is more important for women (30% of women versus 20% of men).

It is a fact that the salary gap between men and women is still quite high in most countries. Research indicates that women, studying at the top European schools, have an annual salary expectation that is on average €8,600 lower (representing a 21% difference) than what men look forward to earning. Closing the gender divide must start with educating Europe’s female graduates to demand much more.

About the Universum Pan-European Student Survey 2011

• Field period: 15th October 2010 to 18th March 2011

• Number of respondents: 19,890
• Number of evaluations: 60,700
• Students from all years of study
• Respondents from over 100 of Europe’s top universities


Complete lists

Field of study : IT

Company Ranking 2011
Google 1
Microsoft 2
Apple 3
Intel 5
Nokia 6
Oracle 7
Accenture 8
Sony Ericsson 10
Cisco Systems 11
Dell 12
Sony 13
SAP 14
Siemens 15
Hewlett-Packard 16
Ericsson 17
Audi 18
Capgemini 19
Porsche 20
Philips 21
Lufthansa Group 23
EADS (Airbus, Eurocopter, Astrium, Defence & Security) 24
Ernst & Young 25
Ferrari 26
Volkswagen 27
Boeing 28
Deloitte 29
L’Oréal 30

Field of study : Engineering

Company Ranking 2011
Google 1
Audi 2
EADS (Airbus, Eurocopter, Astrium, Defence & Security) 3
Apple 5
Siemens 6
Boeing 7
Porsche 8
Ferrari 9
Lufthansa Group 10
Shell 11
Volkswagen 12
ABB 13
General Electric 14
IBM 15
McKinsey & Company 17
Microsoft 18
Bosch 19
Daimler/Mercedes-Benz 20
Accenture 22
BP 23
Intel 24
Philips 25
E.ON 26
Sony 27
The Boston Consulting Group 28
Nokia 29
Nestlé 30
Veolia Environnement 31
Toyota 32
Procter & Gamble 33
Alstom 34
Vestas 35
The Coca-Cola Company 37
Volvo Group 38
Unilever 39
L’Oréal 40
Esso/ExxonMobil 41
Bayer 42
Schlumberger 43
Ericsson 44
3M 45
Hewlett-Packard 46
ÅF Consult 47
EDF 48
PwC 49
Cisco Systems 50
Goldman Sachs 51
Johnson & Johnson 52
Nike 53
Renault 54
Dell 55
J.P. Morgan 56
Sony Ericsson 57
Danone 58
Bain & Company 60
Pfizer 61
adidas 62
Ernst & Young 63
Deloitte 64
Metro 65
Deutsche Bank 66
Capgemini 67
Kraft Foods 68
Heineken 69
Continental 70
GlaxoSmithKline 71
Atlas Copco 72
Novartis 73
Roche 74
The World Bank 75
DHL 76
Oracle 77
Morgan Stanley 78
Roland Berger Strategy Consultants 79
Barclays 80
Henkel 81
Bank of America / Merrill Lynch 82
Lenovo 84
Booz & Company 85
SAP 86
Credit Suisse 88
Mars 89
Huawei 90
UBS 91
European Central Bank 92
ING Group 93
Merck / MSD 95
Carlsberg Group 96
Philip Morris International 97
Sanofi-Aventis 98
PepsiCo 99
BNP Paribas 100

Field of study : Business

Company Ranking 2011
Apple 1
Google 2
McKinsey & Company 3
L’Oréal 4
The Boston Consulting Group 5
Goldman Sachs 6
The Coca-Cola Company 7
Procter & Gamble 8
PwC 9
J.P. Morgan 10
Ernst & Young 12
The World Bank 13
BMW 14
Deutsche Bank 15
Nestlé 17
Deloitte 18
Unilever 19
Morgan Stanley 21
Microsoft 22
Nike 23
European Central Bank 24
Audi 25
Lufthansa Group 26
Porsche 27
Credit Suisse 28
adidas 29
Bain & Company 30
Bank of America / Merrill Lynch 31
Ferrari 32
Accenture 33
Danone 35
UBS 36
Barclays 37
Sony 38
Kraft Foods 39
BNP Paribas 40
IBM 41
Heineken 42
Nokia 43
Volkswagen 44
Roland Berger Strategy Consultants 45
Johnson & Johnson 46
Shell 47
EADS (Airbus, Eurocopter, Astrium, Defence & Security) 48
Daimler/Mercedes-Benz 49
3M 50
Mars 51
Siemens 52
Booz & Company 53
Henkel 54
General Electric 55
Royal Bank of Scotland 56
Citi 57
Société Générale 58
Boeing 59
ING Group 60
Toyota 61
Allianz 62
PepsiCo 63
Philips 64
Capgemini 65
UniCredit Group 66
Oliver Wyman 67
Beiersdorf 68
Carlsberg Group 69
SAP 70
American Express 71
Bayer 72
A.T. Kearney 74
Carrefour 75
Hewlett-Packard 76
Intel 77
Bosch 78
Veolia Environnement 79
GlaxoSmithKline 80
DHL 81
Sony Ericsson 82
Metro 83
Volvo Group 84
E.ON 85
Dell 86
BP 87
Pfizer 88
Roche 89
Esso/ExxonMobil 91
Philip Morris International 92
Novartis 93
Bertelsmann 94
British American Tobacco 95
Vestas 96
ABB 97
Cisco Systems 99
Oracle 100

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