The 10 Companies Everyone Wants to Work For These Days

Justin Sullivan/Getty Images

Justin Sullivan/Getty Images

For college grads, it’s out of the incubator and into the rat race, particularly around this time of the year. As with every preceding year, a healthy portion of graduates and job-seekers are gravitating to a select few big names in business in order to add some glitz to their resumes and nail down a high-paying starting position.

While there are many businesses that are more than happy to handle the influx of fresh talent entering the labor pool, those companies don’t always match up with the ones grads want to work for. That’s not to say that those aren’t fine companies in their own right — but they just don’t have the appeal, for whatever reason, of the big names that grads want.

Thanks to some new insight from Universum, an employer branding firm, we can now see exactly which companies young, talented people are yearning to work for.

Universum surveyed nearly a quarter-million students from business, engineering, and IT schools to see which companies they most wanted to work for. This helped Universum determine their World’s Most Attractive Employers index, and the companies topping the list range from the days of our grandparents to relatively brand new. Technology and banking companies were the most sought after, as were some consulting firms.

As for the specific names, Google, Goldman Sachs, PricewaterhouseCoopers, and Apple were all among the winners for business students. For engineering and IT students, Microsoft, GE, BMW, and IBM all had strong showings.

One quick takeaway from the rankings is that many of the companies listed are older, and don’t have the name recognition of, say, Apple or Microsoft. PricewaterhouseCoopers, for example, may be a household name in business circles, but you might be hard-pressed to find someone on the street that could tell you what that company does.

Another thing the rankings indicate is that as new talent enters the labor pool, these top companies are getting the pick of the litter — except to when it comes to duking it about between each other.

“They’re absolutely going for the same talent,” Kortney Kutsop, senior account director at Universum, told The Huffington Post. “What Google and Apple have that accounting and banking firms don’t is a product. They have strong brand recognition. In accounting and banking, the people are their product.”

But that strong brand recognition works two ways. Companies like Google or Goldman Sachs can attract the country’s top talent with their name alone, that’s quite clear. But for some of those applicants, getting that company’s name on their resume may be the ultimate goal, before trying to make the jump to a competitor and get a higher salary. Not only that, but some of these individuals can even take what they learn from initial training programs and jump ship to kick off their own startup or small business.

That’s really been the story in places like Silicon Valley and New York City, at least for the past decade or so.

As for the details of how the survey was conducted, Universum took into account more than 886,000 employer evaluations levied between September 2014 and April 2015. That encompassed more than 240,000 students from 1,753 universities, so it’s safe to say that the sample net was cast far and wide.

The top five for engineering/IT and business students are listed below, for convenience, but the entire study can be seen on Universum’s website.

Again, if there are a few things to take away from these findings, one of them is definitely that there is a small pool of top-tier companies that are  first in the pecking order for new grads. Also, many of the top companies share certain things in common, such as an emphasis on values and company culture, which may speak to deeper convictions held by many millennial applicants. Finally, millennial grads clearly value prolific company names, whether it be new companies like Google or legacy names like Goldman Sachs, as a centerpiece on their resumes.

As for the top companies, here they are, as reported by engineering/IT and business students:

Engineering/IT:

  1. GE
  2. BMW Group
  3. Apple
  4. Microsoft
  5. Google

Business:

  1. KPMG
  2. Goldman Sachs
  3. Ernst & Young
  4. PricewaterhouseCoopers
  5. Google

Follow Sam on Twitter @SliceOfGinger

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