Google remains business students' top employer pick

Google remains business students' top employer pick

GOOGLE remains the top dream employer among Singapore university business students but it has slipped to second place among their engineering and natural science counterparts in the latest popularity poll by employer branding firm Universum.

A*Star, the local government statutory board which promotes scientific research and talent for knowledge- based Singapore, has overtaken the US Internet company as the most attractive employer for engineering and natural science students here.

A*Star is ranked only 88 among business students' employers of choice. Other Singapore employers who made it to Universum's Singapore Top 100 Ideal Employers rankings for business students include Singapore Airlines (2), Changi Airport Group (8), DBS (12), Monetary Authority of Singapore or MAS (16), MediaCorp (21), Temasek Holdings (25) and Ministry of Finance (33).

Among their foreign-based competitors in the rankings are Walt Disney (3), JP Morgan (5), Apple (9), IKEA (18), Uniqlo (45), Shell (58) and Bosch (100).

Singapore employers ranked by the engineering and natural science students include Ministry of Health (9), Defence Science & Technology Agency (11), Keppel Corporation (18), OCBC Bank (39), CapitaLand (48), Singtel (60), Far East Organisation (77) and Ministry of Trade and Industry (96).

GSK (5), Boeing (15), Unilever (19), Facebook (26), Samsung (35), Siemens (59), Bloomberg (79), Bain & Company (81), KPMG (88), Cisco Systems (95) and HP (99) are among the foreign-based employers on this list.

The rankings are based on a survey of 12,500 students from Singapore Management University, SIM University, Nanyang Technological University and National University of Singapore.

Universum noted that there's a significant gap between MAS and the rest of the public sector employers, "even though the Ministry of Finance has a similar finance portfolio". It said MAS has "distinct strengths", offering business students who join the central bank challenging work, professional training and development as well as leadership opportunities.

According to Universum, MAS also appeals to job seekers because it recruits only the best talent and upholds high ethical standards.

Eight in 10 of the banks in the business students' rankings saw a drop in their ratings; only DBS and UOB showed improvements. Local banks have done better than the foreign banks and the gap between them has widened. "The three local banks (DBS, UOB and OCBC) are still hiring to grow and fortify their operations, bucking the trend of their global peers axing jobs," Universum indicated.

Uppermost in the minds of both the business as well as engineering and natural sciences students when picking an employer to work for is "a friendly work environment". "Professional training and development" comes next, followed by "secure employment". "High future earnings" is surprisingly placed only fourth.

But while female students put "flexible working conditions" and "ethical standards" among their top 10 "preferred employer attributes", these don't figure on the male students' top 10 list. The latter have meritocracy and "inspiring purpose", which are absent on the female students' list.

Universum noted that Singaporean students are increasingly concerned about job security, as layoffs are reported to be on the rise in recent years. "In the past three years of this survey, among all types of students, the importance of the employer attribute "secure employment" has risen from 7th in 2014 to 5th in 2015, and now up to 3rd for 2016."

Asked about their most important career goal after they graduate, two in three of the students deemed "to have work/life balance" a top priority.

The next most desired career goal is "to be secure or stable in my job", followed by "to be dedicated to a cause or to feel that I'm serving the greater good".

This article was first published on March 16, 2016.
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