Employer Branding

The Most Attractive UK Employers for Gen Y [STUDY]

Where do UK millennials and Gen Y want to end up in the workplace? What industry, company and objectives are most sought after? Our friends at Universum have asked 47,776 students around the country and here are some of the results of the study.

Let’s start with the overall macro findings:

Confidence is growing

Students seem more confident this year. They typically choose in between 16 to 22 employers as places that they would consider working for. This year they are in the lower end of this interval: the average was 16. This means that they are pickier with their choices as well as more focused in getting information about those employers. This would also mean that those firms that have been more active towards students will get an advantage.

Purpose in the workplace

Students are keener on working for organisations that have a higher sense of purpose. This is growing year-on-year fast. Take law students as an example. In 2013, 29% said that they wanted to “be dedicated to a cause or to feel that I am serving a greater good”. In 2015 this figure has risen to 42%. It’s almost a 13% points increase.

Energy and financial firms under pressure

The press has been hard with the energy sector and the financial services firms this year. Some financial services firms also didn’t help themselves (too many scandals). In practice, what we see is that the firms in the energy and financial services drop in attraction, among business and engineering students. On the other end of this game, we see the Bank of England gaining attraction and the Financial Conduct Authority entering straight to position 72. Once again, the sense of purpose is showing its effects.

Career goals

It appears having a work/life balance is the most important career goal to business and commerce students in the UK. Secure and stable jobs and working internationally are still clinging on to the 2nd and 3rd spot. The whole chart hasn’t actually changed at all since last year.


Most preferred industries

Management and strategy consulting is still the most interesting industry, tightly followed by banking and then media and advertising. The big risers this year include Fashion, Accessories and Luxury Goods as well as more traditional industries such as Insurance, Real Estate and Education and Scientific Institutions.


Most preferred companies to work for

You will not be surprised to hear that business and commerce students in the UK want to work for Google, Apple and J.P. Morgan. Goldman Sachs appear to be losing its allure slightly, together with Richard Branson’s Virgin Group and Coca-Cola.

business-commerce rankings

Changes in the rankings

At the company specific level, there are some interesting changes:

  • J.P. Morgan beats Goldman Sachs in the business ranking, but is behind in all the other main fields of study (engineering & IT, Natural Sciences, Humanities, Law)
  • KPMG climbs 5 positions and beats EY
  • Burberry enters straight to position 12. They beat LVMH by a landslide (LVMH drops from position 21 to position 27)
  • Rolls-Royce is doing very well. Ahead of Aston Martin and Jaguar Land Rover in the business ranking; and closing the gap to Google among engineering and IT students
  • Shell beats BP among business students (Shell goes down from position 50 to 55; BP goes down from position 46 to 68). In engineering, Shell is also ahead. Down from position 7 to 10; but BP is down from 9th to 14th
  • Facebook is losing attractiveness. Down among engineering and IT students from position 16 to 21. And down from position 23 to 29 among business students
  • Apple is also on the way down among engineering and IT students. Down to position 4th from 2nd position.

RELATED: What You Need to Know About Millennials

By Jörgen Sundberg

Founder of Undercover Recruiter & CEO of Link Humans, home of The Employer Brand Index.