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To tap into the collective wisdom of the world's college students, the Stockholm-based research firm Universum surveyed more than 130,000 business and engineering students in 12 major global markets, asking them to identify the "dream companies" where they would most like to work. For the second year running, both groups put Google at the top of their lists. Legendary perks, including free massages and haircuts, will do that.
But the big news this year is the ascendancy of the Big Four accounting firms, which rounded out the top five spots. Three of the four—No. 2 KPMG, No. 3 Ernst & Young, and No. 5 Deloitte—all advanced in the ranking; only PricewaterhouseCoopers slipped, from No. 2 in 2009 to No. 4 this year. The Big Four have been on a hiring tear for years now, and the job market for new college graduates is only now beginning to recover after taking a serious beating, so it's no surprise that the accounting firms fared well in the Universum survey.
The bigger surprise? Nearly a third of the companies identified as ideal employers by both business and engineering students are new to the top 50 lists this year, including such well-known brands as Apple, PepsiCo, American Express, even General Motors, now mostly owned by the federal government following the fourth-largest bankruptcy in U.S. history.
Here are the top 50 employers, in reverse order.
METHODOLOGY: Universum surveyed more than 130,000 undergraduate business and engineering students worldwide, asking each one to identify five employers for which he or she would most like to work. Students chose from a list of more than 120 employers compiled from those identified as ideal employers in the 2009 Universum survey and tailored to each of the 12 major global markets where the survey was conducted; they also were able to write in the names of any employers not on the list. The ranking is based on the percentage of business students identifying each employer as one of their top five. (A separate ranking based on the engineering students' responses was also created; top 50 employers in the engineering ranking not included in this slide show are Siemens, 3M, Philips, BP, Schlumberger, Oracle, Bosch, DuPont, Lenovo, BASF, Novartis, and GlaxoSmithKline.) Of the top 50 employers in the business student ranking, eight are Universum consulting clients. NR=not ranked in top 50.