Cape Town - Internet giant Google is the most desirable employer globally, according to survey by more than 267 000 millennials.
Universum’s Talent Survey asked business and engineering/IT students in the world’s 12 largest economies to choose their favourite employers.
In order to make the list of The World’s Most Attractive Employer, companies must rank in the top 90% of employers within at least six regional markets.
For the second year in a row, Google retained the top spot for business and engineering/IT talent, but Apple is biting at their heels.
On the Business rankings, Apple which moved up 5 spots from 7th to 2nd place is challenging Google for the top position, followed by EY and Goldman Sachs. PwC fell 3 places to 5th place.
On the engineering/IT side, Google retains its top position followed by Microsoft, Apple, BMW Group and IBM, which took over GE’s spot at 5.
The survey revealed that banks are struggling to compete with tech firms for business talent.
"As a result certain banks have fallen in the rankings, however due to the interest of Engineering/IT talent in joining professional and financial services firms, some banks have made strong advances in the Engineering/IT rankings," stated the report.
There has also been mixed fortunes for consumer goods firms. Nike debut on the ranking at 16, ahead of the Adidas group at 19.
The data showed that there is also a stable attractiveness for the automotive industry, with the exception of Volkswagen for both business & engineering/IT talent.
"There have been significant declines in attractiveness for hardware-focused IT firms and electronics manufacturers and energy industry noticeably less attractive following collapse in oil & gas prices, yet renewable energy firms have seen a spike in popularity among both sets of talent."
According to the survey business and engineering/IT students are actively in pursuit of obtaining a well-balanced lifestyle that encompasses work with personal time.
VIEW INFOGRAPHIC: The world’s most attractive employers
While the survey is based on the world’s 12 largest economies, the results still have major impact on South Africa and South African top talent and businesses need to be aware of these trends.
Jenalise Skuse, Universum country manager in South Africa explained that the rankings are an important indicator of which companies are winning the global war for talent.
"With the increased mobility of talent, and with the increased importance of an international career for young talent in SA, it is more important than ever for local companies to understand the global talent landscape."
She said in line with the global trend, young talent in SA are finding innovative tech firms increasingly attractive.
Listening to your staff
Skuse told Fin24 all companies should make a point of listening to talent and what they want.
"We live in a world where everyone has access to so much information and are making extremely informed choices about everything from which brands they buy to which companies they want to work for.
"As such it’s really important for organisations to know what drives their target market in terms of their career preferences and to communicate which of those preferences they as an employer can offer," she said.
Skuse added that the the Employer Value Proposition is the core of what an organisation offer as an employer and should be developed using a variety of data sources.
"The first step then for companies in South Africa in order to attract top talent would be to understand what drives top talent and develop a value proposition which reflects that."
SA talent's unique expectations
Universum South Africa research manager Winani Ndlovu said while South African talent has similarities with their global peers, insights reveals that they also have their unique expectations from employers.
"Similar to the global talent the South African business/commerce talent is looking for development evidenced in their selection of professional training and development and leaders who will support their development as part of their top three important attributes."
"Within the engineering/technology talent innovation and a creative and dynamic work environment is similarly part of the top three most important attributes in an employer."
He added that although both business and engineering/technology global talent have indicated that high future earnings is part of their top three most attractive attributes in an employer, the South African talent has indicated that professional training and development is more attractive in an employer over high future earnings.
Looking at the 'careerists'
Ndlovu told Fin24 that their insights show that majority of students fall under what they deem "careerists" within the Universum career profiles.
"These are future-oriented individuals who ultimately want to be managers and leaders of groups of people in a business environment. They have no problem starting from the bottom and learning what each rung on the ladder is like."
He said that many careerists consider this process imperative to being a well-rounded leader later on in their careers.
"Logically it would be expected that professional training and development would be more important to these individuals as it would be part of their learning process.
"Earnings on the other hand is something that they might feel assured to get when they have learnt the important skills of the trade and are more rounded," said Ndlovu.