Survey Finds that Graduates in India Prioritize Employers who Offer a Friendly Working Environment and a Path To High Future Earnings

NEW DELHI, Aug. 11, 2021 /PRNewswire/ — Today, Universum launches the findings from the India portion of its annual global talent survey. This year, over 33,000 students from India’s leading universities participated, completing more than 118,000 assessments of India’s top graduate employers. Set out to track the career aspirations and preferences of India’s future talent pool, the Top 100 Ideal Employers student survey also recognises the most coveted employers based solely on the responses collected.


Tech giant Google retains the top spot as the most preferred employer among India’s future workforce. This was the case for students studying across all the main fields of study. Domestic employers such as Infosys, Indian Space Research Organisation and TCS also performed well and were ranked among the top 10 by engineering/IT talent.

Ravdeep Hora, regional manager for Universum APAC said, “In India, as with so many key global markets, we are seeing that competition for talent continues to heat up exponentially. And the pandemic has only made things worse, not better as some hoped it would. With more employer vying for the best talent, and the increased noise and competition this brings, employers need an edge if they want to succeed. This edge means having an attraction strategy that is built on the solid foundations of data and insights, rather than gut feel. It also means being agile when conditions change, like they have in the past year.” 

Salary expectations rise, despite the pandemic

Unlike in other markets where the pandemic has led to a dampening of salary expectations among graduates, expectations in India have increased significantly since last year. The average expected annual salary among those surveyed was:

All students – 1,072,283 INR

Business/Commerce – 964,422 INR (+25% vs 2020)

Engineering/IT – 1,312,038 INR (+30% vs 2020)

Disappointingly, the research also revealed that the gap between the pay expectations of male and female students is widening. The most pronounced disparity was among business students, where females expect to be paid 22% less than their male counterparts. This clearly indicates that more needs to be done, especially by employers and the government, if pay equality is to be achieved in India.

The importance of understanding what talent wants

As part of the survey, students are shown 40 core employer attributes and are asked to indicate which are most important to them when choosing their preferred employers. The most prioritized employer attributes among talent in India are:

#1 High future earnings

#2 A friendly work environment

#3 Leadership opportunities

Although the top two attributes remain unchanged since 2019, innovation, previously third, has fallen three places down the list to sixth.

Employer showcasing the strengths of their employment experience in a bid to attract talent should dig into the data and segment those they want to attract in order to optimise their messaging and ensure that what they are saying resonates with their target group. 

Universum 2021

Students’ discipline

Ideal Employer Ranking 2021


  1. Google
  2. Apple
  3. Amazon
  4. EY (Ernst & Young)
  5. Deloitte


  1. Google
  2. Microsoft
  3. Amazon
  4. Apple
  5. Infosys

About the Universum 2021 Top 100 Ideal Employer Rankings – India Edition

The results are based on the answers of 33,018 students studying for degrees in business/commerce, engineering/IT, natural sciences, humanities/liberal arts/education, law and health/medicine, with 118,070 individual evaluations of 149-158 employers on average within each main field of study from December 2020 to May 2021. Each respondent is asked questions about their career preferences, expectations and employment related drivers and then presented with a list of 149-158 national and international employers, nominated by the target group through an independent and structured nomination and assessment process, which prevents companies unfairly influencing their positions. The rankings consist of those employers chosen most as an ‘ideal’ choice when working through a structured funnel-based methodology.

About Universum

Universum, part of the StepStone Group, is a global thought leader in Employer Branding. Universum has 32 years of peerless experience in the field of employer branding and is established in over 60 markets globally.  Universum has a diverse workforce is physically present in 20 countries. With so much data, historically and geographically, Universum is uniquely positioned to deliver key insights to employers about how to attract and retain their future workforce. Our data-led, human and purposeful output has attracted over 1,700 clients, including many Fortune 500 companies, as well as global media partners that publish our annual rankings and trend reports. Find out more at


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