Universum’s Talent Survey – Switzerland 2023






Financial stability sought after by Swiss university students to navigate the downturn; banking remains at the forefront of students’ preferred industries despite recent issues faced by Credit Suisse.  

Zurich, May 4th, 2023 – Universum officially released the 2023 results of their annual Talent Survey, in which 10,870 Swiss university students shared their career preferences and perception of their ideal employers of choice, defining the Most Attractive Employers in the country. Representing 6,3% of the total student population, the sample establishes Universum as the largest talent survey provider in Switzerland. 

The survey, which was conducted just before the acquisition of Credit Suisse by UBS, revealed that banks are gaining position in the Business rankings (except for Credit Suisse) with the banking industry remaining a popular career start for business students in finance and accounting. Therefore, Generation Z prioritizes financial attributes with “Base salary” and “High future earning” ranking in the top 10 out of 40 attributes. This is especially true for management consulting firms and American banks. 

The Big 4 and luxury brands remain stable, with the watchmaking sector growing in attractiveness after a strong year (2022) in regards to their business performance. The Swiss National Bank (SNB) is also gaining votes from other banks and even Google, being in the spotlight of the media for its damage control of the inflation. 

Microsoft remains a stable number two in the IT rankings, likely helped by the ChatGPT buzz. Despite a global layoff announcement that has impacted its perception in key areas like “Embracing new technologies” and “Friendly work environment“, Google continues to hold the top spot. These attributes are highly valued by IT talent and could give competitors a chance to catch up. 

Perception in %
Attribute  2022 2023 Variation
Flexible working conditions 46.5 56.2 9.7
Embracing new technologies 76.5 64.7 -11.8
A friendly work environment 43.4 36.2 -7.2

The survey also found that Die Mobiliar is one of the highest climbers in the rankings and the only insurance company to do so. Swisscom has also made a strong climb in its core group, with the top ranks highly disputed. In addition, Swissquote, PostFinance, ZKB, Die Mobiliar, and Accenture have climbed to the top in the IT population. 

Novartis and Roche are in the top 15 most attractive employers for IT students, while Bundesverwaltung ranks 13 for IT, its best rank in five years. 

Despite McKinsey remaining the most attractive employer within the consultancy industry for engineering, the company dropped 10 positions in the engineering rankings. At the same time, there is an increase in the popularity of German multinationals Bosch and Siemens against the Swiss Champion ABB, who loses its place on the podium. 

Moreover, the impact of the war in Ukraine is reflected in the rankings, with “Rheinmetall Air Defense” climbing 13 ranks. However, RUAG has failed to attract more young talent despite this trend, which could be partially explained by the fact the company span off to become RUAG and Beyond Gravity

Flexible work is one of the most demanded attributes among IT students, and it has become a decisive factor in perception. The survey shows that the top 3 most perceived employers meet this requirement. 

Novartis, the Swiss multinational pharmaceutical company, has regained its number one position among natural science students. Despite undergoing heavy restructuring in recent years, Novartis has managed to win over the hearts of young talent on campus. The survey also revealed that Sensirion and Givaudan have made significant gains in their rankings, climbing more than 30 positions within the field of study. 

The pharma and chemical industries are still the top choices for natural science students. However, consulting, FMCG, and the Bundesverwaltung are emerging as interesting alternatives, challenging the dominance of the Swiss champions in the field.  

About Universum  

Universum is a data-driven employer branding agency. Founded in Stockholm, we are now active in over 60 countries, with key hubs in Zürich, Paris, Berlin, London, New York, Singapore and Shanghai. The Universum Talent Survey, conducted in over 60 markets worldwide, surveyed more than one million students and professionals about their preferences among potential employers, their career ideas, and communication preferences. Leveraging this, we provide our clients with the research, strategy, and creative solutions they need to compete more effectively for talent.  

Most employers have invested efforts into communicating their key strengths to attract, retain and inspire the best people. These efforts are paying off as Universum’s Most Attractive Employers’ year on year annual rankings reveal. As organisations continue to intentionally work on their employer brands to ensure they attract the right talent for their business needs, talent is also responding positively to employers’ efforts by widening their considered employer bracket. This has led to an increase in competition for key talent within the market.  

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Do you wish to better understand your brand image, audience and competitors?

Every year Universum surveys over 1 million students and professionals worldwide to identify the brand image status of the most attractive employers. Our Analytics solutions give you the insights you need to win the war for talent.

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