The 100 U.S. Companies Where Business Grads Want To Work The Most

Apple is the third most desired U.S. employer, according to a new survey of more than 10,000 business school students.

For the first time in several years, JPMorgan Chase has overtaken Google as the place business majors most want to work. The bulge bracket bank overtook the longtime B-major darling on Universum’s annual ranking of the Most Attractive Employers in the U.S.

Google frequently tops favorite employer lists for its big salaries, storied work environment, seemingly boundless resources, and opportunity to work on revolutionary tech. JPMorgan Chase, meanwhile, is the largest bulge bracket of them all, snatching up new investment bankers from the most elite universities with the promise of astronomical starting salaries. Unfortunately, those salaries are often coupled with 90+-hour work weeks and a noticeable decline in mental health.

The preference for money over work-life-balance may point to the changing attitudes of graduates who have read about large tech layoffs and an uneasy job market for some professionals. In fact, today’s students favor secure employment and high future earnings above work-life balance, according to Universum’s latest survey.

“Beyond being mere benefits, financial security and flexibility have transformed into critical factors for students when assessing potential employers, highlighting the evolving priorities in the job market,” says Kortney Kutsop, chief sales officer at Universum.


For its annual ranking, Universum, a data-driven employer branding specialist, surveyed 43,485 U.S. students from 486 universities and 172 areas of study to identify the most sought-after companies for those looking to join the workforce. It surveyed 10,671 business students alone, the most of any other subject. It also surveyed students in engineering, computer science, natural sciences, as well as students in liberal arts, education, and humanities.

Students were asked which employer characteristics are most important when considering their future and which employer brands they most admire. Surveys took place between September 2023 and April 24.

For business students, two big banks (JP Morgan and Goldman Sachs) made the top 10 for most sought after companies, while five tech companies did. That includes four of the five FAANG: Apple, Amazon, Netflix and Google. (Meta – formerly the ‘F’ in FAANG for Facebook – ranked all the way down at 85.)

You can see the top 10 preferred companies for business students in the table below, or see the full list on page 2.

10 Most Preferred U.S. Employers 2024

Company YOY Change
1 JPMorgan Chase +1
2 Google -1
3 Apple 0
4 Goldman Sachs 0
5 Nike +1
6 Netflix +1
7 Spotify -2
8 Microsoft +2
9 The Walt Disney Company -1
10 Amazon -1


While the qualities students are looking for in future employers changed somewhat over the last couple of years, secure employment, high future earnings and flexibility remain at the top of the list.

You can see the top 10 employer preferences students identified in the table below, as well as how they compare to the top five preferences for the previous two surveys.

Students’ Top Preferences For Future Employers

2024 Top 10 2023 Top Five 2022 Top Five
1 Secure employment 1 High future earnings 1
Secure employment
2 High future earnings 2 Secure employment 2
High future earnings
3 Flexible working conditions 3 Encouraging work-life balance 3
Encouraging work-life balance
4 Encouraging work-life balance 4 Flexible working conditions 4
Flexible working conditions
5 Clear path to advancement 5 Inspiring purpose 5
Respect for its people
Professional training and development
Respect for its people
A friendly work environment
Competitive base salary
Inspiring purpose

Gender also plays a role in employer preference. Beyond secure employment and high future earnings (the same as men), women are looking for companies that offer flexible working conditions, encourage work-life balance, and inspire purpose. Men, on the other hand, are most likely to look at companies that also offer a competitive salary to start, a clear path of advancements, and strong professional training and development.

Maybe not as surprising as it should be, women also expect 14% less pay than men. Overall, students surveyed expect an annual salary of $74,510, but women expected $70,638 compared to $82,325 expected by men.


According to Universum’s survey, students believe sustainability means more than looking after one’s environmental footprints. They see it as a cultural imperative, and one that extends into the workplace. 44% of survey respondents said sustainable employers have a responsibility to invest in employee development and well-being.

“The growing emphasis on sustainability as a cultural imperative not only underscores a broader shift towards responsible employer practices but also aligns with the values that resonate deeply with today’s students,” says Nikki Keeter, employer brand advisor at Universum.

Similarly, an increasing number of survey students want to work at companies that foster inclusivity and offer equal opportunities for all.

Despite several rounds of highly publicized tech layoffs in 2023 and into this year, the sector remains popular for business graduates. Seven tech companies appear in the top 25 of the Universum list.

The industry’s ability to adapt to new technologies and nurture strong leadership will be critical for attracting top talent in the future, Universum’s report says, and interest in leaders who support student development has increased by 4% since last year.

Read Universum’s 2024 report on the Most Attractive Employers In The United States here.

NEXT PAGE: The 100 most-desired employers of B-school students according to Universum’s 2024 survey.


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