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Big Four Accounting Firms Dominate Top Ten

Each year, the Stockholm-based research firm Universum skips all the hype and goes straight to college students to ask them where they would like to work. The survey contacts more than 160,000 business and engineering students in the biggest markets, from Brazil to China to the U.S., and asks them to identify what they regard as top employers.

The favored companies, nonprofits, and government agencies are organizations that tend to offer flexible work options, great benefits, mentoring, and such perks as discounts on day care, free food, and places to play. Not surprisingly—considering public sentiment on banking—the companies that dropped off the list this year included ING Direct (ING) and Barclays Bank (BARC:LN).

Technology is big, with the top spot held by a tech giant. Again, the Big Four accounting firms all placed well in Universum’s ranking. Last year, the firm's list reflected major changes that accompanied the economic downturn, with such companies as Apple (AAPL) and American Express (AXP) appearing for the first time. This year's list changed far less as many companies maintained their honors.

Above, the new design for Apple's headquarters in Silicon Valley.

Here are the top 50 employers, in reverse order.

Methodology: Universum surveyed more than 160,000 undergraduate business and engineering students worldwide, asking each to identify the five employers for which he or she would most like to work. Students chose from a list of employers compiled from those identified as ideal in Universum's 2010 survey and tailored to each of the 12 major global markets in which the survey was conducted; they were allowed to write in the names of desirable employers not on the list. The ranking is based on the percentage of business students that placed each employer among the top five. (A separate roster based on engineering students’ responses was also created; General Motors (GM), Oracle (ORCL), BP (BP), Schlumberger (SLB), Philips (PHG), Bayer (BAYN:GR), Bosch, Lenovo (992:HK), BASF (BAS:GR), Ericsson (ERIC), and ABB (ABBN:VX) were top 50 employers in the engineering ranking that were not included in this slide show.) Of the top 50 employers in the business student ranking, 11 are Universum global consulting clients. NR=not ranked in top 50.

Above photo: Courtesy of City of San Bernardino. All following photographs by Bloomberg.

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