An annual global talent survey conducted by Universum asked more than 4,000 students from six local universities this year to share their thoughts and preferences on their career paths and future employers.
Hong Kong government, which was placed third in last year’s ranking by business graduates, beat long-time chart-topper Google this year as the most attractive employer, while retaining the top spot among engineering graduates as well.
Top 10 employers for business graduates:1. HKSAR Government2. Google3. J.P. Morgan4. EY (Ernst & Young)5. HSBC6. McKinsey & Company7. Morgan Stanley8. Goldman Sachs9. Apple10. PwC
Top 10 employers for engineering graduates:1. HKSAR Government2. Google3. MTR Corporation4. Cathay Pacific Airways5. Apple6. Microsoft7. Airport Authority Hong Kong8. Ocean Park9. Facebook10. Hospital Authority
The local banking industry has been going strong and acquiring talents has not been particularly difficult, proven by the fact that six out of eight banks in the top thirty chosen by local business graduates increased their rank this year, and only one declined.
This is quite an opposite to many other regional markets where banking employers have lost their attractiveness to graduates due to unfavourable perceptions around the employment experience they offer, according to Mike Parsons, marketing director APAC for Universum.
The survey also found achieving work/life balance is the top career priority for students, followed by job security.
Ryan Pua, account manager of Universum Hong Kong said a growing number of Hong Kong workers are willing to sacrifice higher pay in exchange for better work/life balance and/or other benefits.
“This research backs up the notion that top talent now have more career options than ever before, which has intensified the war for talent. Employers need to work even harder to create an attractive workplace and communicate their strengths in a strategic way. Ignoring your employer brand is no longer optional if you want to compete for the talent you need,” said Pua.
The survey also looked at the desired employer attributes among local graduates. Based on the data from around 15, 000 employer assessments, the top attribute the future workforce looks for in their ideal employer is “professional training and development” (59.38%).
This finding supports the fact that more and more students are expecting employers to offer training in necessary skills which are not taught in school but are vital in today’s global work environment.
“According to a recent Universum study, 70% of Gen Z in Hong Kong aged 15-18 would consider skipping university if employers were to offer the skills they need to perform the job instead. This means the race is on for organisations to start developing best-in-class L&D programs targeting not only university graduates, but talent coming out of secondary education as well,” Rachele Focardi, chief strategy officer of Universum APAC said.
The other most desired attributes are “a friendly work environment” (57.62%), “a good reference for future career” (50.87%), "high future earnings” (46.85%), and “clear path for advancement” (45.19%).
The report reminded employers that these attributes vary across different fields of study and genders, and employers need to understand what preferences and put-offs different talent groups have. Adopting a segmented approach in talent attraction can be useful.
ALSO READ: Best employers in Asia