Students look for ubuntu in employers

Culture, flexibility and ethics are among the top employer attractiveness criteria, according to a new survey.

Success, presence and culture are the stand-out words in the 2021 Universum Talent Survey, which gathers data on the most considered and attractive employers for students.

Trends indicate that the spirit of ubuntu is held in high regard, with students reporting an attitude of being of service with a solid interest in a mix of locally founded and international employers, coupled with split interest in both the public and the private sector.

Pabi Mogosetsi, Universum country manager South Africa said, “This survey allows Universum to gain an understanding of what students look for in employers when deciding on their career path. It provides an opportunity to share insight on which employers deliver on key areas they look for while planning for their career. Employers do not pay or choose to be on the list of employers evaluated, and students themselves decide on which employers should be included by voting employers on or off the list.”

In terms of finding information on prospective employers, students reported an increase in their use of Facebook and P-net, while both Careers24 and Indeed have dropped in their reported use.

Presence and engagement have a marked impact on employers’ levels of perceived attractiveness. The bulk of the top 30 most attractive employers were reported to have had campus presence and a solid social media presence. Continued engagement with talent has assisted in building and maintaining the top 30 most attractive employers with employer branding positions.

The shift from work experience to employee life experience priorities emerged as highly evident, with students largely shifting their priorities from the work environment and inwardly focused employer attributes to long-term career building and social consciousness on the part of prospective employers.

The survey, of 54,456 students from 27 universities, showed that a friendly work environment and leaders who will support development are highly valued. In addition, ethical standards, respect for people, security and a clear path for advancement all saw an increase in importance.

A high percentage of business students (42 percent) prefer to work for the public sector and 31 percent of engineering/technology students share the same sentiments. International companies are still seen as the best option, however interest in working for SA-based companies has increased.

In business and commerce, students reported increased interest in employers that show market success – linking this to security, stability and confidence in the business’s survival. In what has been an uncertain time, security, as expected, has grown in importance.

Banking and fintech gaining interest
A good reference for a future career, flexible working conditions and, once again, ethics are being prioritised by students, with the top highly competitive sectors for business talent being in the auditing and accounting field, banking, state-owned organisations and the fintech sector. Survey results showed that:

  • The top five auditing and accounting organisations have edged out the banks in their fight for the in-demand aspirational accountancy focused target group.
  • Allan Gray and the Johannesburg Stock Exchange (JSE) are holding top spots in the fight for the aspirational banking-focused target group.
  • Investec, Allan Gray and SARS take the lead in attractiveness for the aspirational finance-focused target group.
  • Sasol, Transnet and Eskom lead in attractiveness for the engineering-focused target group.
  • Microsoft, Google, Amazon, Huawei, Samsung and IBM take the lead in attractiveness for the IT focused target group.