This year’s list of most popular graduate employers features two engineering firms in the top 20, with tech companies and the public sector rising up the ranks.
Engineering firms Aurecon and Jacobs were ranked at 18 and 19 respectively – up from 20 and 21 last year in the Top 100 Graduate Employers 2019, recently published by GradConnection and AFR.
Professional services giants Deloitte and PwC topped the list, with IBM at number three (up from number 4 in 2018). In fourth place, the NSW Government continued its meteoric rise from 12 in 2018 and 40 in 2017.
Energy companies also saw an increase in popularity with new grads, with Woodside at 34 (up from 47) and Origin at 78 (up from 93). And although Australian automotive manufacturing is no more, moves by Holden and Ford to establish local engineering workforces to develop autonomous vehicle tech has found traction with graduates. Holden is at 63 (up from 72), and Ford at 74 (up from 83).
According to AFR, it is a graduates’ employment market, with close to a fifth of graduates turning down their first offer in favour of a better opportunity.
The 2018 Graduate Outcomes survey agreed that graduate employment rates are on the rise, and engineering graduates are enjoying a full-time employment rate of 83.1 per cent (up from 79.4 in 2017).
Public sector appeal
The public sector, which is driving the current infrastructure boom in the eastern states, continued its rise as an employer of choice. The Queensland Government was at 38 (up from 54), Transport for NSW at 48, Sydney Water steady at 89, and the Victorian Government entering the list at number 90.
According to Dan Headford, national account director at GradConnection, the NSW Government is one of the biggest IT employers in the nation, and “have built a brand that’s synonymous with social good”.
“That aligns to a lot of young people’s goals,” he added.
The NSW Government’s rise has also been fuelled by recruiting international students who have visas that allow them to live and work in Australia. According to AFR, while skilled migration continues to be a controversial issue, it is an incentive for international students considering undertaking a degree at an Australian university.
“If they work here, the international student’s goal, once they’ve graduated, is to end up with residency,” Headford said.
The rise of data
The tech and data sectors also had an impressive showing. Data science company Quantium – founded in 2002 by a scientist and an actuary – entered the top 10 at number nine. It was joined by Apple at 20 (up from 74) Cisco at 51 (down from 37), software company Meltwater at 58, IT consulting firm Dimension Data at 67, DXC technology at 76, and homegrown prodigy Atlassian at 93.
According to Quantium CEO and co-founder Adam Driussi, Quantium combines data science with AI, and asks employees to build algorithms that help companies make good decisions. Woolworths has a 50 per cent stake in Quantium, and in October the data company took over the retailer’s lucrative sales data sharing and research services.
Driussi told AFR that his company was a favourite with grads due to its “people-based and culturally aware” working environment and ability to offer early opportunities to young employees.
“We don’t expect our people to wait for a 55-year-old lawyer to retire before we can give them an opportunity,” he said.