A recently published survey on SA’s most attractive employers has some good news for Google, Investec and Discovery. These are the companies professionals in business and commerce voted the most attractive employers in SA.
Coca-Cola and AB InBev are also rated among the top five employers by professionals in business and commerce.
When it comes to engineering and technology professionals, Google is again top of the list, followed by Transnet, Microsoft and BMW.
The report, South Africa’s Most Attractive Employers for 2019, was compiled by research house Universum Global, which canvassed 45 000 students and 20 000 professionals in SA.
Surprisingly, the public sector features strongly as an attractive employer among both professionals and students.
Among professionals in the natural sciences, public sector employers occupy half the Top 10 positions in the survey, with the CSIR and the Department of Environmental Affairs topping the list.
Among professionals in the humanities, liberal arts and education, Google still comes out as the most attractive employer, closely followed by the Department of Higher Education and Training, the United Nations and the Department of International Relations and Cooperation. The City of Cape Town is also highly rated by professionals.
Among law professionals, Investec tops the most attractive employer list. Only one commercial law firm, Webber Wentzel, makes it into the top 10. Lawyers for Human Rights, Legal Aid, the Constitutional Court and the SA Human Rights Commission are also highly favoured.
No 1 ranking for Department of Health
Among health professionals, the Department of Health it seen as the most attractive employer by a wide margin, which seems at odds with perceptions of the department as inefficient and overstretched. It is followed by Mediclinic, Discovery and Netcare.
Keshia Serage, Universum SA country manager, says the prevalence of public sector bodies in the upper rankings of SA’s most attractive employers may be explained by the quest for secure employment among both professionals and students.
“Among students the foremost goal they are looking for in an employer is security. After that, their goals include work-life balance and a cause they can be dedicated to,” says Serage. “The weak SA economy, with GDP dropping 3.2% in the last quarter, has had a major effect on what professionals and students are looking for in a job.”
A “job with a noble cause” also perhaps explains why professional and student lawyers rate non-commercial legal practices like Lawyers for Human Rights as good places to work.
Audit firms get the nod
Among students in business and commerce, the South African Reserve Bank and SA Revenue Service (Sars) are seen as the most attractive employers, followed by Investec. All Big Four accounting firms – Deloitte, PwC, KPMG and EY (in that order) – appear in the Top 10.
For engineering and technology students, the most attractive employers are Sasol, Transnet, Eskom and Google. Elon Musk also gets a nod here, with Tesla and SpaceX – neither of which have a presence in SA – getting an honourable mention in the Top 10.
Students in natural science lean heavily towards the public sector, which accounts for seven of the 10 most attractive employers.
Law students, like law professionals, have high regard for the Constitutional Court, Legal Aid and Lawyers for Human Rights. Three commercial firms also grab their attention: Webber Wentzel, Adams & Adams and Werksmans.
More professionals – black and white – are emigrating than ever before, and the report may provide some hints as to what to do to retain talent, says Serage.
How to retain talent
For a start, companies need to act like start-ups and engage employees in the creative process. Employees are also looking for security – not necessarily a job for life – but want to show that they have the mettle to stay the course through the tough times. Business and commerce students are looking for innovation and creativity. Educational and scientific institutions and banks are the preferred places to work, followed by health care and the accounting profession.
What the talent wants
Top 10 most attractive employers as voted by professionals
Source: Universum Global
Top 10 most attractive employers as voted by students