South Africa is facing a brain drain – but students still want to work for these top companies

Employer branding agency Universum Global has published a ranking of the most sought-after employers in South Africa for students, based on its comprehensive and independent career-related survey.

The survey collects global data on employment trends, preferred employers and evolving talent needs in the current economic climate.  “One of the biggest trends to look out for globally is the overarching evolution of employees’ need to belong,” said Pabi Mogosetsi, country manager for Universum Global South Africa.

“Transformation is one of the HR areas that is widely viewed as urgent to address. With the revised equity and transformation legislation coming into effect this year, the issue is under the spotlight. Our data has shown that diversity, equity, inclusion, culture and values have become quite important to our talent population.

“These became more widely recognised over the past two years during the pandemic and have become important differentiators to talent, as have learning and growth opportunities.”

Mogosetsi cited data from the Manpower Group, which shows that economic activity is reverting to pre-pandemic levels.

“Data reveals that we will have many more employers expecting to hire talent in Q3 and Q4. But the ‘Brain Drain’ and skills shortage dilemmas remain a challenge. Manpower’s data also indicates that it is becoming exceedingly difficult to fill open positions with suitable talent.”

Mogosetsi said that ethical standards and professional training and development are still highly regarded by both students and professionals, while secure employment is important for professionals, leadership opportunities have become important to students.

“This demonstrates that talent is largely more focused on job characteristics, so employer brands need to ensure that their EVP (Employer Value Proposition) and employer brand image is correctly communicated in job descriptions. This helps them ensure that candidates’ experiences align with what is promised.”


# Company
2 South African Reserve Bank
3 Transnet
4 Deloitte
5 Investec
7 Johannesburg Stock Exchange (JSE)
8 First National Bank
9 PwC (PricewaterhouseCoopers)
10 Standard Bank


# Company
1 Transnet
2 Sasol
3 Microsoft
4 Google
5 Tesla
6 Eskom
7 BMW Group
8 SpaceX
9 Amazon
10 AngloAmerican

Humanities/Liberal Arts/Education

# Company
1 Department of Higher Education, Science and Technology
2 Department of Home Affairs
4 United Nations
6 Transnet
7 City of Johannesburg
9 Google
10 Statistics South Africa


# Company
1 Constitutional Court
2 Legal Aid South Africa
3 Department of Justice and Correctional Services
5 Lawyers for Human Rights
6 Office of the Chief Justice
7 South African Police Services
8 Bowmans
9 The South African Human Rights Commission
10 Webber Wentzel Attorneys


# Company
1 Department of Health
2 Medi-Clinic Southern Africa
3 Network Healthcare (Netcare)
5 Pfizer Laboratories
6 Pathcare
7 Discovery
8 Johnson & Johnson
9 Lancet
10 City of Cape Town

Read: UK investment giant sees big opportunities in South Africa

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South Africa is facing a brain drain – but students still want to work for these top companies