These are the companies South Africans most want to work for

Employer branding firm Universum SA has published the findings of its annual rankings survey to reveal the country’s ‘Most Attractive Employers 2019’.

For 2019, nearly 23,000 working professionals and over 45,000 students participated in the survey to share their opinions and views on career goals and ideal employers.

It is clear that the tough economic, political and social landscape has had a major impact, with both target groups prioritising security and stability from employers. “Security in this case does not mean an environment where they are wanting a job for life,” said Universum SA country manager, Keshia Serage.

“This group of nearly 70,000 South Africans, were asking themselves whether the employers they work for, have what it takes to survive the current tough economic conditions,” said Serage. This points to why South African banks have captured the attention of local business talent to become the industry of choice, followed by the accounting, auditing, and financial services industries.

SA companies have a retention problem

Over half of young South African professionals are unhappy in their jobs and are looking to change employers within the next 12 months. “From the nearly 20 000 professionals that responded to our survey, we see satisfaction levels are sitting at an average of 6 out of 10,” warned Serage. This speaks to a greater need and focus on how employers engage with talent.

On average, employees change jobs within the first two years of employment. “The implications of this are that the employer carries the training and development costs to the benefit of other organisations,” said Serage.

For business and commerce students, the need to be entrepreneurial, innovative or creative at work, topped the list of important attributes, followed by the need for job security, and wanting to be a leader or manager of people.

These attributes overtake the desire to have an international career – perhaps good news for corporates, when there’s evidence of more and more professionals emigrating than ever before – particularly young black professionals, said Universum.

How does SA stack up against its global counterparts?

In as much as the economic challenges might be pushing talent’s focus on international opportunities, the migration trends are more global because both employers and talent globally are showing an interest in international opportunities, Universum said.

Universum’s 2019 survey revealed that while working for an international organisation is attractive to South Africans, so too is working for a national organisation and to an extent, also working in the public sector.

“South African talent used to have a smaller number of employers in their consideration basket compared to their average global counterparts. South Africans used to consider about 13-15 employers on average, while the global average was 25. “In the past two years, we have seen this number increasing to 20 employers,” says Serage.

What the talent is looking for in employers

Universum SA found that the country’s talent pool are all looking for professional training and development, leadership opportunities, inspiring leadership, and ethics in the workplace.

Generation Z (those born between 1995 – 2010) have a sharper focus on earnings, while millennials have a higher focus on leaders that will support their development, it said.

“Talent now looks beyond the role. What is the work environment like? What are the job characteristics? What is the advancement potential? If these can’t be answered, it has a significant effect on mobility from job to job, country to country with a concerning impact on the already stretched economy,” it said.

The branding specialist published the findings of its survey below:

Business / Commerce

# For Students Percent For Professionals Percent
1 SARB 12.07% Google 11.76%
2 SARS 11.90% Investec 10.26%
3 Investec 11.58% Discovery 9.80%
4 Deloitte 10.32% Coca Cola 8.73%
5 Transnet 9.98% AB Inbev 8.51%
6 PwC 9.73% SARB 8.49%
7 JSE 9.58% Unilever 8.36%
8 KPMG 9.41% Transnet 7.73%
9 BMW 7.93% SARS 7.33%
10 EY 7.75% FNB 7.21%

Engineering / Technology

# For Students Percent For Professionals Percent
1 Sasol 16.30% Google 12.55%
2 Transnet 16.00% Transnet 10.60%
3 Eskom 12.94% Sasol 9.96%
4 Google 12.58% Microsoft 8.81%
5 Microsoft 12.26% BMW 7.95%
6 BMW 11.24% Aurecon 7.59%
7 Tesla 9.32% Eskom 7.06%
8 SpaceX 8.38% Tesla 6.69%
9 Samsung 7.20% Discovery 6.41%
10 AngloAmerican 6.99% FNB 6.39%

Natural Sciences

# For Students Percent For Professionals Percent
1 CSIR 14.64% CSIR 13.35%
2 Department of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries 13.43% Department of Environmental Affairs 10.08%
3 Department of Environmental Affairs 11.20% AB Inbev 9.54%
4 Sasol 11.19% Department of Science and Technology 9.24%
5 NHLS 10.26% Unilever 8.94%
6 Department of Science and Technology 9.90% Department of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries 8.64%
7 Department of Health 9.70% Sasol 8.51%
8 Agriculture Research Council 9.32% Google 7.73%
9 Unilever 7.72% Discovery 6.82%
10 AB Inbev 7.53% Agriculture Research Council 6.58%

Humanities / Liberal Arts / Education

# For Students Percent For Professionals Percent
1 Department of Higher Education and Training 33.16% Google 16.40%
2 SABC 11.47% Department of Higher Education and Training 16.07%
3 United Nations 9.43% United Nations 12.49%
4 Department of Home Affairs 8.72% DIRCO 9.30%
5 Google 8.61% Media24 9.19%
6 Media24 8.47% Discovery 8.09%
7 DIRCO 7.64% City of Cape Town 7.50%
8 Transnet 7.07% Woolworths 6.58%
9 SAA 6.06% Coca Cola 6.47%
10 City of Cape Town 5.91% AB Inbev 6.40%


# For Students Percent For Professionals Percent
1 Constitutional Court 21.93% Investec 11.89%
2 Legal Aid SA 20.19% Lawyers for Human Rights 11.79%
3 Lawyers for Human Rights 17.12% Department of Justice 11.49%
4 Department of Justice 15.37% United Nations 11.30%
5 NPA 14.00% Constitutional Court 11.10%
6 Webber Wentzel 13.00% Google 10.81%
7 Adams and Adams 11.60% Legal Aid SA 9.23%
8 SAHRC 11.33% SAHRC 9.23%
9 Office of the Chief Justice 11.10% Office of the Chief Justice 8.64%
10 Werksmans 10.43% Webber Wentzel 8.64%

Healthcare / Health Science

# For Students Percent For Professionals Percent
1 Department of Health 44.74% Department of Health 25.21%
2 Medi-Clinic 31.10% Medi-Clinic 17.77%
3 Netcare 19.93% Discovery 16.03%
4 NHLS 12.77% Netcare 11.07%
5 Discovery 8.60% Pfizer Laboratories 9.01%
6 Aspen Pharmacare 7.60% Aspen Pharmacare 8.60%
7 Lancet 7.57% Johnson and Johnson 7.69%
8 Pathcare 6.77% SANBS 7.44%
9 SANBS 5.58% NHLS 7.36%
10 City of Cape Town 4.98% Adcock Ingram 6.61%

Read: These are the best companies to work for in South Africa

Must Read

Partner Content

Show comments

Trending Now

Follow Us

These are the companies South Africans most want to work for