Is it as good as it looks? Work expectations vs reality

Not sure that much has changed over the years when it comes to a recent graduate’s real vs perceived understanding of what a “real job” entails and what it she is entitled to. Not sure anyone really knows what an employer is or isn’t until you try them on for size.  But this I know, today’s college and university graduates has access to more relevant (real) information on every possible employer, known or obscure, more so than ever before. Yes, through the internet of course but it is not just having access to the World Wide Web, it’s their need and habit of researching and benchmarking that changes our ability to attract and hire the brilliant new student.  The expectation of being able to search and evaluate everything and anything, even their next date, before they commit, through the web is what makes these resent graduates different from their predecessors.  So what does that mean to our industry?  It means these bright young people are checking to see if indeed you are the employer you say you are. In other words – they are deciding if they should even consider you!

This is not a totally new phenomenon but it comes to mind again with Universum’s annual rankings of the World’s Most Attractive Employers. This year they surveyed over 200,000 graduates from the world’s twelve largest economies. To be honest the list top most attractive companies to graduates are not that surprising. It can’t really surprise anyone that the worlds IT and Engineering students consider Google the #1 most attractive employer of choice for a new graduate. Even their parents knows Google - the search engine, the Gmail, the brand and the logo but I believe that there is more to it then that.  According to Universum’s study the students are looking for more than just a brand and money, it’s now about the work culture too.

Top Three Employer Attributes:

In Engineering – 102,618 Engineering Students surveyed:

#1 A creative and dynamic work environment

#2 Professional training and development

#3 Secure employment

In Business – 111,503 Business Students surveyed:

#1 High future earnings

#2 Professional training and development

#3 Leaders who will support my development

Universum found that around the world, students are motivated by creative and friendly workplaces. When asked about their employment preferences, “a creative and dynamic work environment” is the #1 most sought-after attribute for engineering students globally, and #4 for business students. “A friendly work environment” is also important, placing #6 for engineers and #5 for business students.

The survey also looked at Industry Trends and found that for engineers, the automotive industry is back with a vengeance.  Petter Nylander, CEO of Universum suggests that: “As automotive technologies and supply chains become more sophisticated, automobile companies are no longer seen as traditional or old-school places to work.  By focusing on opportunities to be innovative across engineering disciplines, they’re hitting the mark among this group.”   

Noticeably the Automotive, the Banking, the Software and Computer Service as well as the Professional Service industries are growing YOY in attracting business students.  Whereas the engineers are more attracted to the Software and Computer Services (no surprise), Energy, Consumer Goods and Pharmaceutical and Biotechnology industries.

Source: Universum WMAE 2014 

With tools such as Google, social media and sites like Glassdoor and the request for a “creative and friendly” work environment I believe there is indeed not only a slight shift in industry desirability but most importantly a shift in what is expected from the overall work culture.  They are looking for “A friendly work environment”. This I see as a positive and rather civilized expectation set by our new colleagues. Let’s see if their top 10 employer of choice can deliver.

Top 10 of the World’s Most Attractive Employers:

Engineering/IT:                                                Business:

Google                                                              Google

Microsoft                                                           EY

BMW Group                                                      PWC

Apple                                                                 KPMG

GE                                                                      Deloitte

IBM                                                                     Microsoft

Intel                                                                    P&G

SIEMENS                                                           Goldman Sachs

SONY                                                                 Apple

Shell                                                                  J.P. Morgan

For more information on the Universum ranking visit: Visit

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