6 in 10 say work-life balance most important career goal
Google is the most preferred employer among Canadian business and engineering students. The Government of Canada came in second among business students while Microsoft came in second among engineering students, found Universum’s 2013 IDEAL Canadian Employer Rankings, based on a survey of 29,000 undergraduate students.
Canadian undergraduates seem to overwhelmingly prefer service and government positions, rather than the American front-runner industries of management consulting and retail. Banks, which rated poorly in the United States rankings, seemed to stand firm in Canada, showing up as the fourth most popular industry the list. Tourism, legal services and fashion fared even worse, rounding out the least sought after industries.
This could be because, even among business students, work-life balance topped the charts at the most important career goal, with 64 per cent of students selecting it. The number dipped just slightly at 60 per cent for engineering students. Overall, Canadian engineering/IT students are most interested in work-life balance and job security, in addition to a creative and friendly work environment and intellectual challenges.
"It's hard to pinpoint the driver of this work-life balance expectation — is it an intrinsic gen Y trait or is it the increased flexibility of organizations like top IDEAL employer, Google, that has led to this expectation? Whichever the reason it has become a minimum expectation and companies need to incorporate it into their employer value proposition to remain competitive," said Melissa Murray Bailey, president of Americas at Universum.
Google nabbed the top spot among business students and its close competitor on other global rankings, Apple, came in third after the Government of Canada. Starbucks, a perennial favorite in Canada's neighbour to the south, lags at the end of the top 30 list.
The IT and engineering students had some overlap with business students when it came to choosing their top employers, and they definitely agreed on work-life balance as a major career goal. However, these groups of students differed wildly on what they want in a work environment. For business students, it was imperative to work in a friendly work environment, while engineering students chose creative, dynamic and challenging to describe their ideal work situations.
"There's been a remarkable movement over the past several years towards a focus on the workplace experience. This generation is driving employers to focus on creating a healthy work environment — whether through great team relationships, connections to mentors, training and development, or a greater sense of job security,” said Graham Donald, president of Brainstorm Strategy Group, which partnered with Universum for the Canadian survey. “Employers that can attract and retain gen Y will experience greater productivity and loyalty from all their employers, regardless of age."
2013 rankings for business students
2. Government of Canada
5. TD Bank Financial Group
7. Ernst & Young
8. PwC (PricewaterhouseCoopers)
9. RBC Financial Group
10. The Walt Disney Company
2013 ranking for engineering/IT students
8. Government of Canada
10. Suncor Energy