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Here’s what Gen Z graduates are looking for

A new survey of IT and business grads finds that economic security weighs heavily.
By: | October 21, 2019 • 3 min read

Today’s college grads are looking for cool, cutting-edge companies with lavish perks and funky office layouts – right? Well, maybe not so much anymore. It turns out that many IT and business grads are looking for stability, and for them one of the hottest industries is (surprise, surprise) the automobile industry.

Universum’s annual World’s Most Attractive Employers research finds that 53% of Gen Z students are “security seekers,” followed by 35% who are focused on innovation. The study, in which nearly 250,000 business and engineering/IT students in 12 of the world’s largest global economies participated, finds that e-commerce has gained ground as an attractive industry among students as has the automotive industry “due to improved linkage to innovation, creativity and high future earnings.”

Read more on Talent Management from HR Executive here.

E-commerce, automotive and tech are popular industries among students because “each of them is embracing new technologies at a fast pace,” says Universum’s Claudia Tattanelli. Those industries are also embracing workplace flexibility, work/life balance, fun at work and diversity and inclusion, she says.

However, international careers have lost their luster among many students due to “growing economic uncertainty, rising nationalism in many markets and the general shift in preference toward greater job stability,” according to the study.

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Among business students, the most attractive attribute for an employer was “high future earnings” (49%), followed by professional training and development (44%), secure employment (39%) and a good reference for their future career (39%). Their top career goals were work/life balance (53%), to be secure or stable in their job (45%) and to be a leader or manager of people (36%).

Engineering/IT students also prioritized high future earnings (48%) but their second-most attractive attribute for an employer was innovation (45%), followed by professional training and development (43%). As for top career goals, their first two were similar to the business students’ (50% for work/life balance, 45% for job security/stability). However, the third top career goal for engineering/IT students was to be “dedicated to a cause or feeling they are serving a greater good (31%).

Related: Here’s why tech is giving rise to the ‘superjob’

“Today’s students enter the workforce with a keen understanding of what they want from their career, actively following the brands and companies they find attractive,” says Stefan Muller-Nedebock, Universum’s director of global employer branding.

Below are the lists of the most popular employer brands among business and engineering/IT students from the 2019 World’s Most Attractive Employers study:

2019 Top 10 among business students

  1. Google (Non-mover)
  2. EY – Ernst & Young (3rd in 2018)
  3. PwC – PricewaterhouseCoopers (6th in 2018)
  4. Deloitte (Non-mover)
  5. Apple (7th in 2018)
  6. KPMG (5th in 2018)
  7. Goldman Sachs (2nd in 2018)
  8. Microsoft (10th in 2018)
  9. J.P. Morgan (8th in 2018)
  10. McKinsey & Company (9th in 2018)

2019 Top 10 among engineering/IT students

  1. Google (Non-mover)
  2. Microsoft (Non-mover)
  3. Apple (Non-mover)
  4. BMW Group (Non-mover)
  5. IBM (7th in 2018)
  6. Siemens (8th in 2018)
  7. Intel (5th in 2018)
  8. Samsung (9th in 2018)
  9. Amazon (10th in 2018)
  10. General Electric (6th in 2018)
Andrew R. McIlvaine is senior editor at Human Resource Executive®. A Penn State graduate, Andy also spent two years in the U.S. Army prior to attending college and attained the rank of sergeant while serving in the Army Reserves. He can be reached at [email protected]

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