Google and Hong Kong government most sought-after employers for city’s graduates

PUBLISHED : Wednesday, 20 May, 2015, 1:48pm
UPDATED : Wednesday, 20 May, 2015, 4:52pm

Internet giant Google and the Hong Kong government are the two most attractive job destinations for the city’s university graduates, according to a new survey.

This year’s “Hong Kong Top 100 Ideal Employers” online poll conducted by Universum, an employer-branding company based in Sweden, found that Google was the number one desired employer as voted for by business students, while engineering students wanted most to be hired by the government.

“Students no longer want to join an industry, brand or opportunity, they want to join an environment,” said Rachele Focardi, the senior vice-president of employer branding and talent strategy for Asia-Pacific at Universum.

The online survey of 7,212 students found that one in two respondents preferred to work in an international company, despite the job opportunities available in Hong Kong-based conglomerates.

In addition, 67 per cent of the respondents had “work-life balance” as their top priority — a lofty goal that many hope to achieve as part of large multinational companies.

Most sought after employers as voted for by business graduates:

1 Google
2 HKSAR government
4 Cathay Pacific Airways
5 JP Morgan
6 EY
7 Apple
8 PwC
9 Deloitte
10 Swire Group

Google had 49,829 full-time employees worldwide at the end of December last year in a wide variety of fields, from engineering to government relations.

“Working at Google provides a chance to tackle some of the most interesting, fun and challenging real-world problems, and to empower people and businesses,” said Cheryl Tang, the staffing programs lead for Southeast Asia at Google.

The Hong Kong government offers numerous job positions that cover a wide breadth of disciplines which encourage the participation of so-called millennials — a demographic that includes those born between 1982 and 2004. At the end of last year, there were 163,412 civil servants in Hong Kong.

“The perception is that the government also offers a secure, stable environment that offers additional perks like housing, which is a key thing people in Hong Kong aspire to get,” said Howard Chan, a director at professional recruitment consultancy Michael Page International.

“Organisations in Hong Kong who are serious about attracting the very best talent need to change the way they communicate with their target talent,” Focardi said.

“Companies that understand that people and culture are the most important drivers for employer choice will gain a true competitive business advantage.”

Most sought after employers as voted for by engineering graduates:

1 HKSAR government
2 Google
3 Cathay Pacific Airways
4 Apple
5 MTR Corporation
6 Airport Authority Hong Kong
7 Microsoft
8 Ocean Park
10 IBM

There are some glaring absences in the top 10 job wish lists, including some of Hong Kong’s largest conglomerates, such as the international business empire built by tycoon Li Ka-shing.

Chan pointed out that the main targets of the local conglomerates are not fresh graduates, but mostly professionals with experience in the industries they are involved in.

“Young people today look for more freedom to do what they want, and be in control of their own destiny," said legislator Charles Mok, who pointed out that many young people are pursuing entrepreunership and starting their own companies.

The Universum survey also found that the average annual salary expectation of the students polled was HK$225,830, up 8.69 per cent from HK$207,775 in last year’s poll.

According to this year’s Hays Asia Salary Guide, about 64 per cent of Hong Kong’s workforce saw between three to six per cent year-on-year increase in their annual salary.