REVEALED: What job seekers want, and which employers are most attractive

SA professionals and students are seeking more job security when evaluating potential employers, recent research has revealed.

Universum SA on Friday released its annual rankings survey on SA's most attractive employers for 2019. Universum surveyed over 70 000 participants – who were mostly students (45 000) and professionals (23 000) – to get an understanding of the talent market.

Universum SA Country Manager Keshia Serage told Fin24 that similarly to 2018, job seekers are looking for security and stability in their work as opposed to professional development and international opportunities, which trended in previous years. Serage suggested this may be attributed to economic trends, with unemployment being a major concern for graduates.

Job security does not necessarily mean that job seekers want to stick with one employer for life, she said. "This group of nearly 70 000 South Africans, were asking themselves whether the employers they work for have what it takes to survive the current tough economic conditions," Serage explained.

Last year the report showed that parastatals and government institutions had gained a lot more traction than private sector companies. At the time data when the data was collected, reports had emerged of irregularities by private companies like KPMG and McKinsey, Serage explained. This year it appears that trends have stabilised as private companies are starting to reclaim previous positions.

"Parastatals and government institutions still own space in the top rankings," Serage said. "Stability and job security is paramount," she added. There is the perception that public institutions can provide security, and the benefits that come with these job packages are a contributing factor, she said.

Other findings show that South Africans want professional training and development, leadership opportunities, inspiring leadership, and ethics in the workplace. Specifically, those born between 1995 – 2010 or Generation Z focus on earnings while millennials focus on leaders who will support their development, according to the report.

Serage noted that job seekers are increasingly looking to start their own businesses or working for start-ups. "They want to take back the power and drive their own careers, but also make room for impact. You can imagine having more autonomy in a smaller organisation compared to a larger one," she told Fin24.

Here is the list of the 10 most attractive employers for professionals and students based per sector:

Business and Commerce

Students:

SA Reserve Bank

SA Revenue Service (SARS)

Investec

Deloitte

Transnet

PwC

Johannesburg Stock Exchange

KPMG

BMW Group

EY

Professionals:

Google

Investec

Discovery

Coca-Cola South Africa 

AB InBev

SA Reserve Bank

Unilever

Transnet

SARS

First National Bank

Engineering and Technology

Students:

Sasol

Transnet

Eskom

Google

Microsoft

BMW Group

Tesla

SpaceX

Samsung

Anglo American

Professionals:

Google

Transnet

Sasol

Microsoft

BMW Group

Aurecon

Eskom

Tesla

Discovery

First National Bank

Natural Sciences

Students:

Council for Scientific and Industrial Research (CSIR)

Department of Agriculture Forestry and Fisheries

Department of Environmental Affairs

Sasol

National Health Laboratory Service

Department of Science and Technology

Department of Health

The Agricultural Research Council

Unilever

AB InBev

Professionals:

CSIR

Department of Environmental Affairs

AB InBev

Department of Science and Technology

Unilever

Department of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries

Sasol

Google

Discovery

The Agricultural Research Council

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