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Indian university students ranked high future earnings as No.1 career priority; EY (Ernst & Young) voted as most attractive place to work among business talent.

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Today, Universum launches the findings from the India portion of its annual global talent survey. Having collected responses from over 27,000 students from India’s leading universities, the research sets out to track the career aspirations and preferences of India’s future talent pool. The study also recognises the most coveted employers based solely on collected responses. This year, EY (Ernst & Young) has been ranked as the most attractive employer among business/commerce students, whereas Google has retained its position as the most desired employer among STEM talent and MBA students.

Salary expectations have increased

The salary expectation of engineering/IT students remains the highest among Indian students. The survey shows the annual salary expectation from STEM graduates upon graduation is 1,462,814 INR, while business students expect a yearly of 1,039,365 INR, for MBA students the expectation is 1,345,633 INR. With demand for IT talent surging, the gap in salary expectations could grow even further, increasing the challenge that both tech and non-tech employers face in attracting this segment.

In 2022, the expected salaries of male students were 1,282,323 INR compared to just 1,023,450 INR for their female counterparts. This large (20%) gap in pay expectations suggests there is a still a long way to go before we see pay parity among male and female graduates in India. Having said that, the gap has decreased slightly this year compared to the past two years (2020: 23%, 2021: 24%).

Top Career Aspirations & Goals

Out of the 40 employer attributes the study measures, Indian undergraduate students prioritise employers that provide “high future earnings”, “a friendly work environment”, and “good reference for future career”. Trending upwards “professional training and development” and “secure employment” have risen to the 4th and 5th most important employer attributes, respectively.

“Top talent in India, like many of their regional peers, appear to be adapting rapidly to a new normal world of work, increasingly seeking out remote working arrangements and putting increasing emphasis on work-life balance. This means employers in India will need to not only figure out how they will adapt themselves but communicate those changes in a compelling and balanced way if they want to attract India’s best and brightest” said Mike Parsons, managing director APAC, Universum.

Other highlights in the survey shows that more students (75% undergraduates and 85% MBA students) are interested in remote work arrangements than they were in the previous year. Concerns about feeling isolated and missing out on social connections with co-workers have somewhat dissipated, as have concerns around the impact on earning potential and being left out of important meetings and initiatives at work.

Universum 2022
Students’ disciplineIdeal Employer Ranking 2022
Business/Commerce1. EY (Ernst & Young)2. Google3. Apple4. Amazon5. Deloitte
Engineering/IT1. Google2. Microsoft3. Apple4. Amazon5. Facebook
MBA1. Google2. Amazon3. Apple4. Microsoft5. EY (Ernst & Young)
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