Universum Study Shows Young Talent Prioritizes Job Security in the Face of Uncertainty

  • The Study Also Shows Declining Interest in Startup Careers and International Careers Among Young Talent

The 2021 World’s Most Attractive Employers rankings show students still prioritize high future earnings above all other employer attributes, but finding secure employment rose sharply in importance for young talent, jumping by as much as four ranking points for engineering students.

“A flight to security is typical during an economic downturn, as is the pivot away from higher risk, entrepreneurial companies,” explains Richard Mosely, Global Client Director at Universum. “This is probably why more established innovators with a proven record of success like Amazon and IBM were the biggest winners in the rankings.”

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Universum, the global leader in employer branding, surveyed over 221,800 students in business, engineering and IT from the 10 largest economies between September 2020 and May 2021. The far-reaching survey asks students which employer characteristics are most influential as they consider future employment, and which employer brands they most admire.

Young people are pivoting their personal and career priorities: The pandemic prompted students to reevaluate what they want from an employer and a career; will industries with long, grueling schedules face a reckoning?

For young talent, a jetset career slips in favor: With borders shut and international mobility significantly more difficult and uncertain, students show a waning interest in foreign companies and multinational careers.

Virtual work formats may disadvantage younger employees: Virtual and hybrid workforces are here to stay, but talent leaders must take care not to adopt a one-size-fits-all approach — particularly with young talent, who see many potential downsides in virtual work formats.

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Universum CEO Mats Röjdmark believes the new findings will help steer talent leaders who may be stuck in a reactionary mode. “There’s tremendous pressure on talent leaders right now to separate what are short-term reactions to COVID-19, versus long-term changes to workplace fundamentals,” says Röjdmark. “Getting insights from students in business, engineering and IT is critical for talent leaders as they negotiate a way forward in 2022.”

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