THURSDAY 24 MAR 2011 4:43 PM


Banks are once again becoming more attractive to potential recruits, according to an employer evaluation survey.

The study, conducted by employer branding specialist Universum and based on the opinions of more than 13,000 students, sees employers from the UK banking sector climb the 2011 Universum Ideal Employer rankings.

The Royal Bank of Scotland is the highest climber amongst business students climbing 37 places from 58 in 2010 to 21 this year. Other banks that climbed the business ranking include: HSBC (+5 places); JP Morgan (+5 places); Barclays (+12 places); Lloyds Banking Group (+16 places) and Bank of America/Merrill Lynch (+17 places). In 2010, all banks saw a slump in sentiment among business students.

"2010 was a bad year for the banks, but they have managed to bounce back,” said Universum CEO Petter Nylander. “HSBC and RBS, for example, have actually improved on their 2009 rankings showing that the recession was only a blip on their employer image. The banks' investments in their employer brands have built strong foundations with students.”

Yet it is employers with innovative and exciting products that continue to be most favoured by engineering, IT and business students with Apple and Google scoring highest.

Elsewhere, BP remains in 12th place in the engineering/IT ranking despite last year's negative press coverage surrounding the oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico. As a whole the oil & gas industry has dropped in popularity with other key players Shell and Esso/Exxon Mobil falling.

Employers in the pharmaceutical industry have also lost popularity with GlaxoSmithKline, Bayer, AstraZeneca, Pfizer, Roche and Novartis all falling in the rankings.

Among the Big Four, PwC remains the fourth most popular employer for business students in the UK, whereas KPMG jumps significantly from 10 to five. Ernst & Young slips from 12 to 13, and Deloitte from 13 to 18.

The full rankings can be found here.