Power Employers: The Companies US Students Most Want to Work For

A survey of 50,000 college students revealed the most in-demand employers among U.S. students.

Read More

Who are the hottest employers for college graduates right now? As with most things, it depends on who you ask.

Business majors favor big, stable companies with established brands. Engineers are drawn to companies tackling ambitious challenges. Computer science majors want to work at massive tech firms. And humanities majors, well, they seem to want to work for the government.

Every year, Universum Global surveys hundreds of thousands of students around the world to understand what employers they hope to work for, and what qualities they want in an employer. For companies eager to attract and retain the best talent, it’s valuable information.

To compile its rankings, Universum, a Sweden-based firm that focuses on employer branding, surveyed about 50,000 US undergraduate and graduate students. First they’re asked to rank a list of about 200 companies in their main field of study, then to select their top five choices.

Of course, like all surveys, there are caveats. By its nature, it’s going to over-index very large employers that college students have heard of. Students may well be attracted by the idea of working at a startup, but that’s not going to be recorded here. Likewise, students may see themselves working as doctors, lawyers or teachers, but those broad professional classes aren’t really represented. Ultimately, it’s a ranking of how successful big employers are in getting their message out to prospective employees.

Along with data on what companies are the most appealing, the survey also revealed what students want from their jobs. Not surprising, “secure employment” and “high future earnings” ranked first and second, as they have each of the last three years. But following them were “encouraging work-life balance” and “flexible working conditions,” both ranked much higher than in years past and a clear signal that the changes in work culture produced by the Covid pandemic appeal to future as well as present employees.

Indeed, nearly a quarter of 2022 graduates said that an employer’s lack of remote work opportunities would make it impossible or less likely for them to work there. The average number of days this year’s graduates say they would like to work remotely is 2.42, which is probably a higher number than most large US companies would prefer to offer.

Still, in the current economic environment, workers are scarcer than in previous years, and employers are in constant need of attracting new talent. Signing bonuses, unlimited vacation benefits, and help with student loan debt are among the benefits that many large employers have been using as incentives. Below are the rankings for different types of majors.

Business Majors

Business students are drawn to the bold-faced names of the business world. Most of these companies are on the list of biggest enterprises by revenue, market cap, or both. Still, there are a few surprises: The FBI made their list, as did Patagonia, the outdoors clothing company beloved by progressives.

CompanyRank 2022Rank 2021Trend
Google11
Apple22
JP Morgan34
The Walt Disney Company 45
Goldman Sachs59
Netflix68
Tesla73
Nike87
Spotify910
Amazon106
Microsoft1111
Deloitte1213
Morgan Stanley1315
Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI)1414
EY (Ernst & Young)1518
Space X1616
PwC1722
Bank of America1817
Marriott International1925
Patagonia2012
Sony2134
Nintendo22NEWNEW
Delta Air Lines2335
Starbucks2431
AirBnB2530

Engineering Majors

Engineers want to build cool stuff. The top five on their list make cars or rockets, while companies that sell everything from robots to jet engines to vaccines dot the rest of their rankings.

CompanyRank 2022Rank 2021Trend
Space X11
Tesla22
NASA33
Lockheed Martin44
Boeing55
Apple66
Google77
Microsoft88
Northrup Grumman99
Raytheon Technologies1012
General Motors1117
Toyota1220
Ford Motor Company1321
The Walt Disney Company1411
Boston Dynamics1516
Amazon1610
U.S. Dept. of Defense1713
GE1818
BMW Group1926
Intel2022
Lego2131
Johnson & Johnson2215
Rolls-Royce2330
United States Air Force2425
Pfizer2523

Computer Science Majors

No qualms about Big Tech here. The biggest players on the internet and the stock market crowd the top of the list. Video game companies like Riot and Valve, and government agencies also hold appeal.

CompanyRank 2022Rank 2021Trend
Google11
Apple22
Microsoft33
Amazon45
Tesla54
Netflix610
Space X76
Facebook88
Spotify99
Nintendo107
Nvidia1114
NASA1211
Riot Games1315
IBM1413
Central Intelligence Agency1512
Federal Bureau of Investigation1617
The Walt Disney Company1716
National Security Agency1819
Intel1918
Valve2033
Sony2121
U.S. Dept. of Defense2225
Samsung2320
AMD2424
Twitter2522

Humanities Majors

It’s hard to parse this list. It’s possible English and History majors are all just do-gooders who want to save the world, potentially at a government agency. Or that most plan on going to graduate school, and these answers are mostly place holders prompted by the survey questions. Still, it’s heartening to see the United Nations and the Peace Corp rank so highly.

CompanyRank 2022Rank 2021Trend
The Walt Disney Company11
Federal Bureau of Investigation23
United Nations32
Netflix44
U.S. Dept. of Education55
Google66
Central Intelligence Agency77
National Geographic88
Spotify910
U.S. Dept. of State109
Apple1111
Teach for America1212
U.S. Dept. of Defense1315
Nintendo14NEWNEW
Peace Corps1514
BuzzFeed1613
National Security Agency 1718
Environmental Protection Agency1816
Mayo Clinic1922
National Institutes of Health2020
American Red Cross2127
Nike2217
Amazon2321
Tesla2419
Random House2525

We noticed you're using an ad blocker.

We get it: you like to have control of your own internet experience.
But advertising revenue helps support our journalism.

To read our full stories, please turn off your ad blocker.
We'd really appreciate it.

How Do I Whitelist Observer?

How Do I Whitelist Observer?

Below are steps you can take in order to whitelist Observer.com on your browser:

For Adblock:

Click the AdBlock button on your browser and select Don't run on pages on this domain.

For Adblock Plus on Google Chrome:

Click the AdBlock Plus button on your browser and select Enabled on this site.

For Adblock Plus on Firefox:

Click the AdBlock Plus button on your browser and select Disable on Observer.com.

Then Reload the Page