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Big Four chased by tech employers in new student ranking

July 12, 2012

The Big Four still loom large in popularity among undergraduate accounting majors, though technology giants and banking corporations are on their heels, according to employer branding company Universum’s new study.

Of the 5,871 undergraduate accounting students surveyed for that section of the 2012 Ideal Employer rankings, Ernst & Young topped the list with about 41 percent of respondents expressing a desire to work for the firm, followed by about 33 percent for PwC, 31 percent for Deloitte and 28 percent for KPMG.

Google took the fifth spot—cementing a place it held in both 2011 and 2010—and Apple the seventh, overtaking Goldman Sachs’ 2011 ranking, though banks still held strong with J.P. Morgan at sixth and Goldman Sachs down one spot to eighth.  

“The broad range of companies that accounting students chose as ideal shows the ongoing trend of today’s students... reluctance to only focus on companies traditionally at the forefront of their industry,” said Camille Kelly, vice president of employer branding at Universum, in a statement

Walt Disney Company and Grant Thornton rounded out the diverse top 10, outranking financial giants like Morgan Stanley and Bank of America Merrill Lynch by a few spots. The IRS clocked in at 17th.

“Knowing these students’ interests are in some of the technology firms will force the accounting firms to really market their culture and people as their products,” Kelly stated.

The surveyed students were presented with a list of 200 national and international employers nominated through an independent nomination and assessment process. After selecting companies they would consider working for, students chose from that pool their five “ideal employers,” which determined the final list order.

The full 2012 Ideal Employer ranking follows:

1. Ernst & Young    40.81%
2. PwC    32.63%
3. Deloitte    31.26%
4. KPMG LLP    27.82%
5. Google    16.19%
6. J.P. Morgan    15.31%
7. Apple    13.87%
8. Goldman Sachs    12.07%
9. Walt Disney Company    8.35%
10. Grant Thornton LLP    7.84%
11. FBI    7.37%
12. Morgan Stanley    6.63%
13. Bank of America Merrill Lynch    5.55%
14. Nike    5.50%
15. U.S. Department of the Treasury    4.95%
16. Microsoft    4.58%
17. Internal Revenue Service    4.37%
18. Facebook    4.18%
19. Procter & Gamble    4.18%
20. The Coca-Cola Co.    4.04%
21. Central Intelligence Agency    3.52%
22. Wells Fargo & Company    3.38%
23. Amazon    3.24%
24. BMW    3.15%
25. Citi    3.10%
26. McGladrey & Pullen    3.08%
27. McKinsey & Company    3.00%
28. The Boston Consulting Group    2.87%
29. Johnson & Johnson    2.77%
30. Barclays Capital    2.47%

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