TRENDS & PREDICTIONS
Universum’s survey was conducted between September 2021 and May 2022. “In that period, we had a really historic period in terms of hiring,” says Richard Mosley, Universum’s global vice president of strategy, during the live event.
According to manpower outlook surveys conducted since 1962, the beginning of this year had the most positive hiring outlook in sixty years. Meanwhile, 35% of companies globally reported talent shortages, the highest number in 16 years. “So this was a great time for students,” Moseley says.
However, inflation and recession concerns point to a less uncertain outlook for the year head.
Mosely summed it up this way: “Sunny times first half of the (2022), less sunnier where we are now. Projecting forward to 2023, we see the IMF saying economic growth is really going down very low.”
The report identified five key trends reflected from Universum’s survey data:
1- ‘Show me the money’: All survey responding groups emphasized compensation when choosing ideal employers. “Competitive salaries” and “high future earnings” make up two of students’ top-three priorities.
“Given the friction between high inflation and cooling economic growth, employers will need to rethink starting salaries for recent graduates, balancing students’ high expectations against protecting the bottom line,” the report concludes.
2- Work-life balance: Not only do students want to be paid, they want a work-life balance as well. This includes flexibility, working from home when desired, and having time for other life passions.
“Early signs suggest top companies in the WMAE rankings are rolling back some lifestyle perks. Meta recently announced to employees it will eliminate most laundry and dry cleaning services and cut back on free meals in the company dining room.
“The New York Times explains, ‘The changes could be a warning shot for employees at other companies that are preparing to return to the office after two years of the coronavirus pandemic,’” the report notes.
“When it comes to salary increases, however, concessions will be much harder to extract.”
While a recent study from Mercer found employers are planning an average merit increase of 3.8% compared to the 3.4% in 2022, those increases are unlikely to keep pace with inflation which may breed dissatisfaction among employees.
3- Challenging work: While students still look for opportunities that will challenge their skills, this preference has fallen the most of all the other considerations.
4- A Job market of musical chairs: During the Great Resignation, there has been a lot of turnover as people leave their positions, looking for greener pastures.
“In November 2022, I’m not sure the music has stopped, but I think it’s a little bit slower,” Moseley says. “It’s more of a waltz than a polka.”
There is still a lot of wooing that must be done by companies that want to attract the top talent. But, the dance might be slowing even more in 2023.
5- Cloudier days ahead? As a tech company with high pay and hyped perks, Google has topped Universum’s list for several years. The poster child of the preferred employer, if you will. However, recent media reports indicate the sun might be hiding between gathering clouds for the tech darling – and perhaps for other companies as well.
In September, Google CEO Sundar Pichai told an all-hands meeting that circumstances would get more challenging in the coming year, and the company needed to show more urgency, more focus, and more hunger than in sunnier times, Moseley said.
BUSINESS STUDENTS’ 50 MOST ATTRACTIVE EMPLOYERS
Business students made up 48% of this year’s survey, down from 50% last year.
This year, all of the Big Four accounting firms – Deloitte, Ernst & Young, KPMG, and PricewaterhouseCoopers (PWC) – dropped one to two spots in the ranking relative to last year.
“This despite students choosing the auditing and accounting industry more often,” the report finds. “Why? We suspect that as students increasingly prioritize flexibility and work-life balance, they are more likely to find balance at mid-tier firms or working in industry.”
Meanwhile the three leading investment banks – Goldman Sachs, JPMorgan Chase & Company and Morgan Stanley – improved their ranking. “Something I find quite interesting is that the students we spoke to obviously showed that there’s still a lot of demand for flexible working. However, some of the companies we might not normally associate with that, like the investment banking industry, are doing really well this year,” said Elin Ballsten during the webinar. She is a senior digital communications project manager at Universum.
This likely indicates that the sky- high salaries in investment banking outweigh the often demoralizing work conditions reported at the top firms. This spring, Wall Street Oasis surveyed its members (investment bankers working in the industry) and found 52% said they are not satisfied with their current pay, 14% averaged 91 or more hours of work per week, and 75% say their work hours have negatively impacted personal relationships. They also reported a 28% decline in their mental health and a 33% decline in physical health from before accepting their current positions. (See ‘This Is All Bullsh*t’: Investment Bankers Sound Off On Lousy Hours, Bad Pay & Ruined Relationships and ‘Toxic Environment, Toxic People’: Grim Work Conditions Described At 10 Bulge-Bracket Banks)
See the full ranking and report here.
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