Press release

What does it take to be the best employer for students?

20 March 2017

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Issues related to employer branding are on the agenda among the leading companies in Ukraine. According to the EY General Industry Compensation and Benefits Survey – 2016, 35% of respondents consider these issues among their HR priorities for 2017 (compared to 30% in 2015). How have students’ preferences changed over the year and what should companies do to attract top talent? These and other important matters were analyzed by EY based on the results of its annual Best Employer Survey, which reflects the opinion of about 1,500 students from different regions of Ukraine.

EY expresses its special thanks to the partner of the survey, HeadHunter Ukraine, for the help with conducting the on-line survey, as well as to the leading Ukrainian universities for their cooperation in spreading the questionnaires among students.

What attracts students in employers?


The results of the survey for the last three years show that students become more demanding as they consider more employer choice criteria on average from year to year. Similarly to the previous year, the key factors of employers’ attractiveness in 2016 are the opportunities for career growth as well as the personal and professional development. At the same time, the priority of the company’s market position increased, while of the salary levels – decreased. This tendency has emerged for a reason, as the employer brand and the company’s reputation are of a major importance for Generation Y candidates. The respondents, in particular, students with high level of English, also mentioned the opportunities of gaining an international experience as an important criterion.

The most attractive industries and employers


IT remains the most attractive industry for students as IT employers were mentioned the most frequently among the companies, where students want to work (about 70 out of more than 500 independent mentions referred to IT sector). Moreover, IT companies continue to replace traditional leaders of the best employers list – international FMCG companies, which are also popular among students. The professional services firms (Audit & Consulting) are considered attractive as well. Notably, media industry demonstrated a positive dynamics compared to the previous year and became one of the top five industries students want to work at. Agrochemical, insurance and oil & gas sectors are among the least popular ones.

The most attractive employers for students in 2016 are (in an alphabetical order): 1+1 media, EPAM, Google, Microsoft, Nestle, SoftServe and Big 4 audit companies.

Sources of information about employers


Internet is the most popular source of information about employers. Among online sources, students most frequently use social networks (particularly, VKontakte and Facebook) and job portals – 75% of respondents mentioned these. Moreover, every second survey participant finds information on corporate websites. Mass media, particularly the online media, is also popular among students. Notably, freshmen respondents mentioned this source of information more frequently than graduates. Students, especially without work experience, also visit different events arranged by the companies-employers (e.g. job fairs, presentations, events with the companies’ representatives in the university etc.) and receive information from their friends and relatives. At the same time, independent student organizations remain the least popular source of information about employers among young candidates.

Job search difficulties
Similarly to the previous year, lack of work experience remains the biggest challenge for students – it was mentioned by 74% of respondents. This may be the reason why young candidates consider the companies’ readiness to employ students as an important factor of employer attractiveness (about 40% of the survey participants mentioned this criterion). Skills mismatch and high level of competition on the labor market are also among the major job search difficulties – every third respondent mentioned those. At the same time, in 2016 the survey participants less frequently mentioned the limited number of vacancies that match specialization and unsatisfactory employment conditions.

Relocation readiness of students
Traditionally, students are more mobile than professional candidates. Similarly to the previous year, more than half of respondents are ready to relocate for employment purposes (78% – within Ukraine and 94% – abroad, which is 8% and 14% more compared to 2015). The most popular destinations in Ukraine are Kyiv and Lviv – these cities were mentioned by 68% and 52% of participants respectively (compared to 70% and 55% in 2015). The percentage of respondents who are ready to move to Odesa, Kharkiv and Dnipro has also slightly decreased. The most frequently mentioned countries for relocation are the USA (25%), Germany (21%), Poland (18%) and Canada (13%), which are also popular destinations among the students who intend to study abroad.

About the survey
EY conducts the Best Employer Survey in Ukraine since 2005. The main goal of the survey is to analyze the labor market attractiveness of the companies, define preferences of the candidates while choosing a workplace and provide recommendations on employer brand management. During the survey, we ask respondents to name up to three employers in order of their attractiveness and choose attractive companies from the suggested industry lists, which are based on the results of the previous years. Moreover, participants of the survey may also indicate factors of employer’s attractiveness and sources of information about them, as well as answer some other questions, which help to determine the major trends on the labor market.

The People Advisory Services practice at EY Ukraine provides consulting services on human resource management matters, including conducting external employer image analysis and employee opinion surveys (engagement level, corporate culture, values, motivational factors, etc.).

About EY
EY is a global leader in assurance, tax, transaction and advisory services. The insights and quality services we deliver help build trust and confidence in the capital markets and in economies the world over. We develop outstanding leaders who team to deliver on our promises to all of our stakeholders. In so doing, we play a critical role in building a better working world for our people, for our clients and for our communities.

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