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Just-published results on Hong Kong’s ideal employer among almost 6000 students has once again revealed that that Google as the preferred organisation of choice among business students. HSBC came in at second spot for the same demographic.

The annual results of Universum’s talent survey – seeking to ascertain the work aspirations of the future talent pool – also features the Hong Kong Government again as a preferred employer, despite a turbulent 12 months in the city.

One notable big winner this year is L'Oréal. The French cosmetics firm climbed 12 positions in their ranking among business talent. L'Oréal’s rise in popularity correlates strongly with students perceiving them to be a highly successful organisation that enables talent to work with exciting and interesting products.

The top 10 ideal employers for graduates are as follows:

top 10 employers hk

Students' choice of communication channel and online behaviour

When asked about the channels used to learn about and engage with prospective employers, 69% of students identified the employer’s career page was a primary resource, followed by the corporate website (59%) and the company’s Facebook career page (42%).

In terms of what they found most engaging, students prioritised content themed around training & development, advancement opportunities, remuneration & benefits, and how the workplace looks. Employers who are able to create compelling content around these key themes and make it accessible to the targeted talent were at a distinct advantage over their rivals, the findings revealed.

“Even though overall hiring in 2020 might be down, data shows us that hiring top talent isn’t getting easier, it’s actually getting harder. Without truly understanding what’s driving and motivating essential talent through this crisis, and how priorities are evolving, employers will find themselves at a distinct disadvantage,” said Jim Evans, senior employer brand advisor for Universum.

“Insights have now become the number one tool for attracting the right talent, especially in light of these uncertain times and all the changes we’re witnessing. Data-driven talent strategies are proven to lower the overall cost of talent, create stronger and more engaged teams, and help with retention – things that have never been more business critical than they are today,” he added.

Banking industry remains in high demand

A total of 46% of business students chose banking as their most preferred industry to work in upon graduation. This is followed by management & strategy consulting (34%). Several banks saw a significant increase in their overall ranking, with Standard Chartered Bank (+17) and Bank of America (+15) were the two that gained the most.

Gender, Gen Z and Gen Y pay discrepancies

The survey results indicate that pay equality between the genders remains a challenge. The data revealed that male business graduates expect an annual salary of HK$287,000 upon graduation, compared to female business students who only expected an annual salary of HK$242,000. Year-on-year, this gap has widened from 12% to 15%.

Salary expectations between different age demographics also diverged, with Gen Z expected an average annual salary of HK$259,000 compared to HK$296,000 for Gen Y.