'Brexit effect' sees graduate interest in banking fall

A major survey from Universum into the Class of 2019's employment aspirations shows a shift in graduate career preferences. Interest in banking and business services fell, but rose for tech and innovation roles.

Image of young graduate considering options
The latest figures from employer branding specialist Universum's annual benchmarking study into graduate careers suggests purpose, social progress and salary are very much on the minds of young people as they graduate this year.  The survey canvassed the ambitions of close to 40,000 people graduating this summer from almost 100 British universities, many of whom will enter the labour force for the first time. Universum finds the trend for increased interest in tech and innovation roles is reflected across many subject areas – not just among people who focused on these subjects for their first degree. 

Which companies do business graduates most want to work for?

The findings suggest business students are being enticed from the financial and business services sector.Deloitte dropped two places in comparison to the 2018 Global Talent Survey and multi-national Morgan Stanley now sits in tenth place after falling three places on the previous year.Meanwhile, the appeal of companies like tech giant Apple, which climbed the ranks into fourth, puts it ahead of PwC (5), Nike (6), KPMG (7), Deloitte (8) and L’Oreal Group (9).With Universum’s findings coinciding with news about Deutsche Bank’s latest woes, which will see it shed 18,000 jobs globally, and Brexit-related relocation from London back on the cards for the financial sector, the company believes the waning interest may be a demonstration of the wider impact Brexit uncertainty has had on the banking industry over the past year.

Uncertainty putting graduates off banking

Universum Managing Director for Nordics, UK and Ireland, Claes Peyron, said: “Brexit is obviously a factor that is weighing on the minds of young talent when they consider which industry to start a career in.“When we conducted our 2019 survey, the deadline for Brexit was set for March, and there was a lot of media coverage during the field period on which industries would be affected the most.“Banking is obviously one of those industries, and this could be why we are seeing varied success rates of employers trying to attract business talent, despite their increased talent attraction efforts over the past few years”.“It was only two years ago during the release of our 2017 UK rankings when we reported that Brexit had no effect on talent wanting to join the banking industry, on the contrary more wanted to join than in 2016.“However, I suspect that the closer we have gotten to the deadline, the more unsure talent have become about joining an industry where jobs are reported to be heading to the continent.”

Which companies do STEM graduates most want to work for?

Universum also noted evolving trends for STEM graduates, who appear to favour companies that value innovation and offer intellectual challenge.While Google again tops the list for this cohort, followed by Rolls-Royce (2), Microsoft (3), Apple (4), Jaguar Land Rover (5), BAE Systems (6), McLaren (7), Aston Martin (8), Airbus (9) and Lamborghini (10), the employer branding consultancy notes that STEM talent is looking beyond traditional engineering roles and moving towards innovative, technology-driven companiesUniversum UK spokesperson, Nicola Kleinmann, said: “Electric cars, self-driving cars and an increase in safety globally has recaptured STEM talent’s interest in the automotive industry.“The UK has a rich history of founding some of the best-known car firms in the world, which could be why the industry has cemented its place at the forefront of the STEM top 100." 

Universum: UK’s Top 10 Business and STEM Employers 2019

2J.P. Morgan2Rolls-Royce
3Goldman Sachs3Microsoft
5PwC5Jaguar Land Rover
6Nike6BAE Systems
8Deloitte8Aston Martin
9L’Oréal Group9Airbus
10Morgan Stanley10Lamborghini

What do new graduates want from work?

Graduates studying both business and STEM subjects regard high future earnings as their number one priority for the workplace.By contrast, those studying sciences and medicine were found to value professional training and development, as well as a clear path for progression, over salary.Overall Gen Z students have higher expectations when predicting their annual salary versus millennials. Business students predicted a salary of over £28,000 for themselves while engineering students expect £30,000 - a 30% increase on the national average of £23,000 for graduates.Universum also looked into students’ media habits, which gives a fascinating insight for recruiters, HR, talent and employer brand managers. It found that Facebook, Instagram and YouTube were among the top five most-used online platforms for learning about future employers. These were all ahead of employer-focused resources such as Glassdoor and the TimesTop 100.A huge 27% of students favoured YouTube, supporting the growing trend in how millennials and Gen Z are interacting less with traditional media and official outlets in favour of online and social media platforms.

Read more about engagement, reward and global mobility in coverage of the Festival of Global People in the summer issue of Relocate Global - out now.

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