Where tomorrow's graduates want to work

Grads seek tech industry jobs close to home

By Kathryn Vasel, CNN Business
iStock/LawrenceSawyer

ATLANTA - Google hasn't lost its luster among college students.

The tech giant once again ranked as the world's most attractive employer in the latest report from research and consulting firm Universum, which surveyed almost 250,000 business and engineering/IT undergraduate students across the globe.

Google has held the top spot on the report since 2009. Engineering and IT students are also eager to work for tech titans Microsoft, Apple and IBM. Meanwhile, business students said they'd also love to work for EY, PwC and Deloitte.

When it comes to future employment, here's what students are looking for:

 

Staying local

 

Having a jet-setting career isn't as important as it used to be for many of today's students.

Over the last four years, there's been a decrease in the desire to work internationally -- particularly among business students. The biggest drop was seen among Japanese business students: In 2016, around 43% reported an interest in an international career. That number fell to 20% this year.

Among business students, the goal to have an international career dropped to 27% this year from 35% in 2017. Among engineering and IT students, 21% wanted to work in another country, down from 27% two years ago.

 

Rise of the Chinese titans

 

Engineering students in China now say they are favoring working for Chinese companies over Western multinationals, according to the report.

In 2007, Western corporations dominated the top five list of employers among this cohort, with four out of the top five companies based in the US: Google, P&G, IBM and Microsoft. Only one Chinese company was in the top five at the time -- the number one-ranked China Mobile.

This year, there were no Western multinationals in the top five. Instead, Chinese engineering students ranked Huawei, Xiaomi, Alibaba, Tencent and Baidu in the top spots. Apple came the closest, ranking seventh.

"There does seem to be anecdotal evidence of a shift in preference toward leading Chinese companies from new graduates and other young people," said Tim Summers, a lecturer at the Centre for China Studies for the Chinese University of Hong Kong, in an email to CNN Business. "I think this is driven primarily by the fact that these companies tend to be the most dynamic and influential in the Chinese economy."

 

Income is key

 

Young people entering the workforce are going where the money is, and looking down the road at their ability to earn a decent paycheck.

High future earnings was the most attractive attribute among both business and engineering/IT students.

Students are also hoping to grow their skills at their future employer, with professional training and development also being cited as important.

Another important attribute is career stability. Generation Z students are more focused on finding secure employment in 2019 than students were in 2009, according to Universum.

Students who sought out secure employment also typically reported a desire to work for companies that offer work-life balance and are people-focused, the report said.

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