The Journal Gazette
Sunday, November 21, 2021 1:00 am

Where does young talent aim to work?

LISA GREEN | The Journal Gazette

High future earnings along with training and development are top interests for young talent – business, engineering and IT students – who will soon enter the workforce full-time, results of one global survey suggest.

Virtual and hybrid workforces are here to stay, but talent leaders should be leery of a one-size-fits-all approach, particularly with younger workers. That's the demographic that could most lose from virtual work formats, the report from Universum said. Many young adults feel a need to be seen and heard to ensure they are valued for contributions and potential.

With the ongoing coronavirus pandemic, however, interest in foreign companies and multinational careers is waning.

Those are among the key findings in the 2021 World's Most Attractive Employers report released in late October.

Universum is a global firm focused on employer branding. The company based its report on results from an online survey between September 2020 and May 2021 of more than 221,800 business, engineering and IT students from the 10 largest economies. The company relies on colleges and universities that use its flagship tool, the CareerTest by Universum.

Half the survey respondents were business students, while 38% were in engineering and 12% in IT.

“These are the fields of study that the leading international employers we focus on in this survey are most interested in,” Richard Mosley, Universum's global client director, said through email.

This year was the first time that Universum analyzed data to identify five key talent personas: Go-Getters, Ground-Breakers, Change-Makers, Globe-Trotters and Balance-Seekers.

Go-Getters are attracted to successful companies. They are focused on factors including rapid promotion, prestige and attaining a high level of responsibility.

Ground-Breakers enjoy team-oriented and creative, challenging work and embrace technology. Change-Makers aim for purpose-driven companies with a strong commitment to diversity and inclusion, high ethical standards and corporate responsibility.

Globe-Trotters are drawn to big, city-based, multinational organizations that provide opportunities to travel abroad. Balance-Seekers want flexible working conditions and work-life balance, often from local companies that can offer secure employment and competitive salary, the report said.

Amazon, which last summer launched its first distribution operations in Fort Wayne, was also top of mind for some business students.

“Amazon continues its march to the top as a best-in-class employer brand,” the report said. “In 2017, Amazon ranked number 26 among business students; today it stands at number six.”

That's the favorable part. But there was more.

“Amazon appeals most to Go-Getters, those motivated to advance quickly in their careers, and Ground-Breakers, people who want to work for innovative brands,” the Universum report said. But the online retailer “scores low with Change-Makers, young talent who value inclusion and working for high-integrity companies.”

General Motors, which has an Allen County truck assembly plant, was one of the top five companies among student fans – 33% – who fit into the Ground-Breakers persona, Universum said. ABB led this list of top employers for that persona at 36%.

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

IBM was the No. 3 choice among IT students.

Google and Microsoft topped the list for IT students, engineering and business students. For engineering students, the other top five most attractive employers were BMW Group, Siemens and Apple. For business students, Apple, Deloitte and L'Oreal Group rounded out the top five.

To share a thought, a favorite quote or other wisdom about leadership, email Lisa Green at Lead On also appears online as a blog at

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