Jobs requiring skills in science, technology, engineering, and mathematics are in high demand. According to a recent study by US News and World Report, there were 5.7 million job openings in STEM-related fields in 2013, and 2.3 million of these jobs were entry-level.
There is an especially high demand for individuals with engineering skill. A report from McKinsey indicates that by 2018 the demand for statisticians, engineers, and other “deep analytical talent” will exceed U.S. supply by 50-60 percent (or between 140,000 and 190,000 positions).
To fill these open positions (which currently account for more than one of every ten jobs in the United Sates) employers are looking to the next generation of engineers. But while many employers may want these students, the real is which companies are the students interested in working for?
Global research and advisory firm Universum recently conducted its annual survey to find out just that.
Surveying nearly 8,000 undergraduate engineering students from 328 different universities, Universum data show that engineering students expect the market to provide them with higher starting salaries than any other undergraduates (other than computer science students), and engineering grads are looking for job security, a “creative and dynamic” work environment, opportunities for professional development, innovation, challenges, and strong leadership.
“Companies that want to capture this talent need to appeal to them on what matters most to them—job security, a creative and dynamic work environment, a reputation for being innovative, but they also need to do so in a differentiated way,” says Kevin Troy, head of research & insights, Americas, at Universum. “They should be able to talk about what makes them unique in a way that will really stand out in prospective employees’ minds and seem compelling.”
Which companies do engineering students consider to be the most ‘ideal’ employers?
Boeing: Moving up from third place to take the coveted spot as 2014’s most ideal employer for engineering students is Boeing.
As the world’s leading aerospace company and the largest manufacturer of commercial jetliners and military aircraft, Boeing’s reputation as a highly innovative company definitely helps it grab the number one spot, but it’s professional development opportunities are also be a big hit with engineering students.
“Our overarching vision is to create opportunities for development, growth, networking, mentoring and also hands-on technical development experiences for all of our engineers,” says Kristen Gemeny, Boeing’s engineering workforce development and culture programs leader.
Gemeny learned in a survey of early career employees that the top reasons people decide to stay with Boeing are the positive relationships with managers, opportunities for personal and professional growth, and challenging and meaningful work assignments.
NASA: Imagine coming home to your family, and instead of relaying a story about how you spent the day coding, you instead tell them how you planned a trip to Mars? For employees at NASA, this isn’t a fantasy; it’s exactly the type of work you could participate in daily.
Not only is this work interesting and innovative, but the company offers a wide variety of other perks to employees like an on-site gym, a health facility, access to a travel agency for business and personal trips, and the option to telecommute (which is important for millennials, as they consider work-life balance an important career goal).
Google: Seeing the tech-giant on this list should be no surprise to anyone. The company is consistently ranked high on best-places-to work lists, and jobs at the company are highly sort after.
Employee perks—like on-site massages, on-site gyms, three-star dining cafeterias, luxurious vacations, and a decorating allowance—is a reason why college students want to work at Google, but the company is also associated with three of the 10 most attractive employer attributes (creative and dynamic work environment, innovation, and friendly work environment).
Lockheed Martin Corporation: Challenging work, a myriad of available professional training, and job security are all reasons for engineering students to be attracted to the global security and aerospace company.
Lockheed Martin is an expert in government contracts, developing products, and maintaining a diverse group of products. It understands where it’s going and how it’s going to grow in the coming years. It offers future employees the opportunity to try out different segments of the aerospace industry (e.g., avionics, aircraft, spacecraft, and launch vehicles) through leadership development programs.
Lockheed also encourages all their employees to continue their education outside of its walls and offers a robust tuition reimbursement program.
General Electric: Innovation is one of the most attractive employer attributes according to the students. And with GE ranking highly in multiple lists of the most innovative companies of 2014, it’s no surprise it is also be considered an ideal employer.
Not only does the company create innovative products and ranked on Popular Science’s list of 2013’s ‘100 greatest innovations’, but it’s also adapted a culture fueled by innovation. The company crowdsources as a way to foster ideas, and encourages employees to have a start-up mentality, which it hopes will foster creativity and growth.
GE invests over $1 billion a year to train, educate, and develop future leaders, which is another highly attractive attribute to students. These benefits include reimbursement for job-related courses, or loans to finance employee or dependent education.
Too see all of the employers who made Universum’s list, visit the Top 100 Ideal Employers for U.S. Engineering Students.