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Students want purpose in their working life

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Google is still the most attractive prospective employer for business and engineering students in the world’s 12 largest economies. More than 240 000 respondents in Universum’s Talent Survey have ranked the companies they find most desirable for employment, and the results delivered some valuable insights.

The survey found that Millennials want to truly understand a company’s purpose, align with it and work with others to propel the organisation’s performance. And they want to be inspired, not overwhelmed, by employer messages. Storytelling is critical: Millennials want to learn about employees who embody the organisation’s values and communicate authentic stories about their working life.

Millennials’ greatest fear is to be stuck without the opportunity for professional growth and development. Professional services firms like PwC and EY continue to pull the highest rankings in this regard; other industries should benchmark how this sector nurtures employees through training and mentoring.

South African students also identify professional training and development as an important attribute in an employer’s attraction.

Kelebogile Motsa, project manager of partner relations and data collection at Universum South Africa comments that students are usually worried about securing a job after graduating and having the right skills and training the job requires from them. Therefore, employers that offer professional training and development, as well as security usually have a higher level of attraction for South African students.

This is one of the reasons that government appears more frequently in the Most Attractive Employer lists in South Africa.

“The 2015 WMAE confirms that Millennials will go to work for companies whose stories they can tell, whose values they can espouse and whose businesses they can learn,” says Petter Nylander, CEO of Universum. “Students are
seeking platforms for their own performance and growth. And they told us which companies are accomplishing this.”

Luvuyo Magopeni, key accounts manager at Universum South Africa, adds that this is a similar trend seen amongst South African Millennials: “The attraction of leadership opportunities to South African Millennials is the opportunity to coach and mentor others, which speaks to that need of having a purpose.”

Although South African Millennials seek platforms for their performance and growth, they also want to help develop and grow others.

There was little movement in the top employers among business students from the 2014 rankings, with Google once again taking top spot, followed by PwC, EY and Goldman Sachs.

The survey showed that Millennials are highly attracted to entrepreneurial energy in the workplace. They want to work in innovative settings, unencumbered by infrastructure, while still delivering strong financial results. Consequently, the technology industry was generally attractive, while the energy sector took a hit with all employers losing ranks. The fast-moving consumer goods industry, on the other hand, experienced a positive upswing.