What the future workforce wants from employers

A survey of university students shows that they most value friendly work environments and opportunities for training and development.

According to a new survey, the key employer attributes sought after by upcoming graduates are a friendly work environment, and the provision of professional training and development.

The survey, from Universum, involved more than 8,500 students from Singapore’s four main universities – SMU, NTU, NUS, and SISS (formerly SIM). It explored employment preferences based on 40 key employer attributes, which were grouped into four even sets covering employer reputation & image, people & culture, job characteristics, and remuneration & advancement. This allows employers to see how they are perceived in terms of the employment experience they offer, and what it is that talent wants most from their employers.

The most sought-after employer attributes overall and by gender are:

The most sought-after employer attributes divided by the fields of study (of the survey's respondents) are:

A friendly work environment is the top consideration of talent, regardless of gender or field of study. Other important aspects of an employer’s people and culture are supportive leaders, meritocracy, creative and dynamic environments, and being respectful towards your people.

Many of the attributes that make the top of talent’s wish lists seem to revolve around securing their future, such as professional training and development, leaders who support my development, high future earnings (rather than competitive base salary), clear path for advancement, and good future references.

The findings suggest that employers in Singapore who are serious about attracting the best talent in the market need to prioritise the cultural aspect of their employment experience – as well as their proposition to talent in terms of how they’re going to invest in them and develop them during their time together. It will then be their ability to communicate these things that will help them access Singapore’s most talented graduates.

“It is all about the people, and the findings from this year’s survey couldn’t spell it any louder. If a few years ago employers could attract the right talent just by talking about the strength of their brand and their lucrative career paths, this is no longer the case,” said Rachele Focardi, senior vice president APAC at Universum.

“Talent wants to know about the people and the culture. This is why it is so important for companies to have a strong Employer Value Proposition built on solid foundations: it is no longer just about attracting candidates with catchy words or phrases, it’s about showing the true essence of who an organisation really is and communicating it in a way that is attractive, true, credible, sustainable and differentiating,” she added.


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