Who are the hottest employers for college graduates right now? As with most things, it depends on who you ask. Business majors favor big, stable companies with established brands. Engineers are drawn to companies tackling ambitious challenges. Computer science majors want to work at massive tech firms. And humanities majors, well, they seem to want to work for the government. Every year, Universum Global surveys hundreds of thousands of students around the world to understand what employers they hope to work for, and what qualities they want in an employer. For companies eager to attract and retain the best talent, it’s valuable information. To compile its rankings, Universum, a Sweden-based firm that focuses on employer branding, surveyed about 50,000 US undergraduate and graduate students. First they’re asked to rank a list of about 200 companies in their main field of study, then to select their top five choices. Of course, like all surveys, there are caveats. By its nature, it’s going to over-index very large employers that college students have heard of. Students may well be attracted by the idea of working at a startup, but that’s not going to be recorded here. Likewise, students may see themselves working as doctors, lawyers or teachers, but those broad professional classes aren’t really represented. Ultimately, it’s a ranking of how successful big employers are in getting their message out to prospective employees. Along with data on what companies are the most appealing, the survey also revealed what students want from their jobs. Not surprising, “secure employment” and “high future earnings” ranked first and second, as they have each of the last three years. But following them were “encouraging work-life balance” and “flexible working conditions,” both ranked much higher than in years past and a clear signal that the changes in work culture produced by the Covid pandemic appeal to future as well as present employees. Indeed, nearly a quarter of 2022 graduates said that an employer’s lack of remote work opportunities would make it impossible or less likely for them to work there. The average number of days this year’s graduates say they would like to work remotely is 2.42, which is probably a higher number than most large US companies would prefer to offer.
Still, in the current economic environment, workers are scarcer than in previous years, and employers are in constant need of attracting new talent. Signing bonuses, unlimited vacation benefits, and help with student loan debt are among the benefits that many large employers have been using as incentives. Below are the rankings for different types of majors.