Most attractive graduate employers in Hong Kong revealed for 2019

07 June 2019 4 min. read

Employer branding consultancy Universum has released its 2019 most attractive employers rankings for graduates in Hong Kong – with three of the Big Four making the top ten.

Taking in the views of more than 6,500 business, engineering and natural sciences students from eight of Hong Kong’s leading universities, global research and employer branding consultancy Universum has released its coveted Hong Kong’s Most Attractive Employers list for 2019 – three of the Big Four global professional services firms making the top ten among business students.

With the survey respondents sharing their career goals and ideal employers on a range of motivating employment characteristics, this year’s list sees the HKSAR Government retain its number one rank from last year among both business and engineering students, followed by perennial worldwide favourite Google, and, for business students, financial institutes HSBC and J.P. Morgan.

Landing at 5th among business students, the first of the Big Four – Ernst & Young. Falling within EY’s Greater China practice, and the more broadly the firm’s Asia Pacific geography (which is currently its hottest growth market at a five-year 10.2% CAGR), EY has four offices across Hong Kong, including its recently launched wavespace innovation centre. The firm has had a presence in Hong Kong for over half a century, opening an Arthur Young office in 1968.

“We’re committed to boosting the talent pool across Asia-Pacific with new skills, investing in creative and experience design talent across the region,” said EY Asia-Pacific Area Managing Partner Patrick Winter at the time of the local wavespace centre launch. “The ability to create a new and innovative business model depends on the ability to put together new ideas, capabilities or technology.”Hong Kong's Most Attractive Employers 2019Immediately following EY on the list was fellow Big Four firm PwC. Spread across three locations in Hong Kong, PwC has according to data on its website more than 4,350 local professionals, including 220 partners. At the end of 2017, PwC’s Hong Kong branch became one of the first major professional services entities worldwide to accept bitcoin, later joining the Singapore firm to pick up a stake in blockchain specialist VeChain.

While all of the Big Four made Universum’s global top ten last year – led by EY at 3rd overall – the last of the quartet to make it in Hong Kong, at 8th behind Cathay Pacific and ahead of Morgan Stanley and Apple, was Deloitte. Based out of One Pacific Place, the Hong Kong branch of Deloitte – which dates back to 1972 – also forms part of its China practice, and since late last year the firm’s Asia Pacific operations which were merged into a single entity.

Coinciding with the merger, Deloitte committed a massive $321 million three-year to its combined geographies to provide, according to regional CEO Cindy Hook, “immense career development opportunities to help us to attract, develop and retain the very best talent the region has to offer.” Locally, the China practice has introduced what it calls a ‘4+1’ culture to support employee development, standing for ‘courage, innovation, inclusion, well-being + integrity.’

According to the Universum graduate student survey, work/life balance remains the number one career goal for young talent, although aspirations for having an impact or serving a greater good are on the rise. Of particular note though was the gender disparity in top employer attributes, with male students citing high future earnings and their female counterparts professional training & development and a friendly work environment – which could have a negative impact in closing the gender pay gap.

“Young talent in Hong Kong, although unique, possesses many of the career attitudes and preferences intrinsic to the modern day Millennial,” said Mike Parsons, Universum managing director for APAC. “They’re more attracted to employers based on the employment experience and soft defining factors, such as the friendliness of the culture and working environment. Factors such as compensation, although important, are increasingly viewed as hygiene factors and non-differentiating.”