The Banks Are Back As 'Ideal Employers'

Number One

But Apple and Google Continue to dominate.

Based on 41,532 employer evaluations, reflecting the opinions of more than 13,000 students, Universum releases the UK 2011 Ideal Employer rankings.

Employers from the banking sector are back in students' good books as they climb the Universum Ideal Employer rankings. Yet employers with innovative and exciting products continue to be the favourite employers for both engineering, IT and business students: Apple (1st business, 2nd engineering / IT) and Google (2nd business, 1st for engineering / IT).

The Royal Bank of Scotland is the highest climber amongst business students climbing +37 places from 58 in 2010 to 21 this year. Other banks that climbed the business ranking include: HSBC (+5 places); J.P. Morgan (+5 places); Barclays Bank (+12 places); Lloyds Banking Group (+16 places) and Bank of America/Merrill Lynch (+17 places). In 2010, all banks dropped in popularity for business students.

'2010 was a bad year for the banks, but they have managed to bounce back. HSBC and RBS, for example, have actually improved on their 2009 rankings showing that the recession was only a blip on their employer image. The banks' investments in their employer brands have built strong foundations with students', said Petter Nylander, Universum's CEO.

BP have maintained its 12th place in the engineering/IT ranking despite last year's negative press coverage surrounding the oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico. As a whole the oil & gas industry has dropped in popularity with other key players Shell and Esso/Exxon Mobil falling, seven to 13 and 18 to 25 respectfully.

This year employers in the pharmaceutical industry have lost popularity with GlaxoSmithKline, Bayer, AstraZeneca, Pfizer, Roche and Novartis all falling in the rankings. This is in contrast to 2010 where GSK climbed an impressive +27 places amongst business students.

Although a tight pack, there are changes amongst the Big Four. PwC holds fast as the fourth most popular employer for business students in the UK, whereas KPMG jumps significantly from 10 to five. Ernst & Young continues to slip, this year from 12 to 13, pushing Deloitte from 13 to 18.

Nokia has fallen from 14 to 18 amongst engineering / IT students, while its competitors maintain their positions: Google (1), Microsoft (2) and Apple (3). Nokia is losing market share while Apple and Google are gaining it - a clear example of market share correlating with employer attractiveness.

Students are realistic about their salary expectations with the expected annual salary at £25,887. This is only a £16 increase on 2010 and mirrors what graduate recruiters say -they will not increase their graduate salaries in 2011.

However, the gender divide on salary expectations prevail with men expecting £4,350 more than their female counterparts (£28,717 for men and £24,386 for women).

Work / life balance continues to be the top career goal for students in the UK, following a decade at the top. However, a developing trend for more stable employment is emerging: 'It's either a response to the economic crisis or to the increased cost of university education, but students are seeking more stable jobs', said Nylander.

Job security was the fifth career goal in 2008, third in 2009 and 2010, and is now the second career goal in 2011.

Work / life balance and secure employment are important for both women and men, but when examining other career goals gender differences are clear. To have an international career is more important to females, the fourth career goal for those studying business and engineering / IT. In comparison, it comes in sixth place for men studying business and seventh place for those studying engineering / IT.

Men however have a stronger focus than their female counterparts on being a leader or manager of people and seek employers who offer high levels of responsibility as part of their job characteristics.

A job for life certainly no longer exists, but students are looking for more stability with 72 per cent of respondents expecting to stay two to five years in their first job. And from their first employer, 54 per cent of students want a creative and dynamic work environment and 53 per cent want professional training and development.

'Students are looking for employers who will help them to build their skills and knowledge and boost employability for when they move on. They know they will not be with an employer more than a few years, but they still have high expectations. Gen Y and Gen Z still value work/life balance highly - being able to integrate work and personal life is paramount for them', said Nylander.

Interestingly, of the 40 attributes of employer attractiveness addressed in Universum's research, the least important to students was a culture that supports equality between the sexes and one that is accepting towards underrepresented minorities - appearing in the bottom three of all the alternatives.

Here's the positions for banks in Universum's UK 2011 Ideal Employer survey:


8. JPMorgan

10. Goldman Sachs

11. Barclays

15. Morgan Stanley

20. Barclays Capital

21. The Royal Bank of Scotland

22. Lloyds Banking Group

28 Bank of America Merrill Lynch

33. Deutsche Bank

45. Credit Suisse

50. Citi

55. UBS

59. Santander

70. BNP Paribas

83. ING Group

84. Rothschild

Source -

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