NEW YORK -- A survey of engineering grads focusing on their "most attractive employers" underscores the importance of global branding for multinational tech companies like Google and Apple.
The global survey by Stockholm-based Universum also broke out responses by country, thereby providing a glimpse into the state of national industries, economies, consumer culture and the mindset of engineering students about to enter a global industry.
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I was struck by the openness of Chinese students. While China’s state-owned companies such as China Mobile, State Grid Corporation of China (SGCC), and PetroChina have a solid footing in the top 20 list, Chinese students are also eager to work for multinationals like Apple, Google, General Electric, Microsoft and Volkswagen. One could conclude that blandishments of capitalism are casting their spell.
The situation is similar for Japanese engineering students. While the survey found that Japanese students ranked Apple at No. 15, they overwhelmingly preferred to work for Japanese companies.
Does this reflect an insular attitude among German and Japanese students, or are they simply guided by an innate sense of "patriotism" that domestic companies are better than multinationals?
Such a facile analysis is tempting, but I’d have to say no. The trend in Germany and Japan, I believe, reflects the state of industrial development in each country.
If your country has already produced such great companies and research institutes as Germany's Audi, BMW, Siemens along with the Franhofer or Max Planck institutes, naturally you'd want to stay close to home.
China, by contrast, still lacks homegrown, prestigious engineering institutions equivalent to those available in the United States or Germany. Hence, the desire to work for multinationals.
See Echo's comment "It's not easy to be recruited by China state's owned companies, unless you are children of politicians or likes."
Little surprise there. If you aren't the child of a fairly high ranking Party member or of an existing member of the industrial elite, you are unlikely to be noticed. Having the right connections can be important anywhere, but are likely critical in China.
An old friend was involved in international education, and said "Don't get me started on doing business with the Chinese." You had to grease palms, but you had to know not only whose palms to grease and how much, but the *order* in which to grease them. The Communist Revolution had little effect on the underlying cultural patterns, and the Chinese were still very much concerned with rank, status, and precedence. You had to understand and observe the local pecking order to do business, and what that was could be hard for an outsider to discern.
A fair bit of the current practices in China's economy can be understood as further enriching and keeping in power the existing elite, and many goodies will be reserved for members of the elite.
“I was struck by the openness of Chinese students. While China’s state-owned companies such as China Mobile, State Grid Corporation of China (SGCC), and PetroChina have a solid footing in the top 20 list, Chinese students are also eager to work for multinationals like Apple, Google, General Electric, Microsoft and Volkswagen. One could conclude that blandishments of capitalism are casting their spell.”
It's not easy to be recruited by China state's owned companies, unless you are children of politicians or likes.
The salary in SGCC maybe several times larger than in Apple or GE..
"For example, are the US grads finding a lot of jobs available at NASA? Is that why they chose it as their top pick? Probably not."
Agreed. Money is not the only motivator, and may not be most important. I want a salary comparable to my peers, but I want to do meaningful work I can take pride in. If get an offer from NASA, and an offer from a more pedestrian shop at a higher rate, the decision will probably be NASA in a heartbeat, because the NASA gig will be the kind where I'll love to go to work in the morning and hate to go home at night because I'm doing really cool stuff.
"So how's the gig at NASA?"
"I was lead designer on a major subsystem of the Curiosity rover. *My* work is currently exploring on *Mars!*"
Absolutely. Working with leading edge technologies is likely one of the key reasons. Similarly, in US, new graduates perceive NASA as cutting edge and they prefer it if there is job available. What more interesting to me is, like Junko said, why the same hypothesis not apply to new grads from Germany and Japan. It might worthwhile to understand the reason behind.
Agreed. And yet there are also aspirational aspects such a survey as this one often reveals. For example, are the US grads finding a lot of jobs available at NASA? Is that why they chose it as their top pick? Probably not.
There are many multinationals doing business in Japan, for example. I just found it curious none of those multinationals made the cut -- except for Apple.
When I was a grad student in England in the 1970s, Bell Labs in the USA was top of my list. About half of the technical papers in my field (telecom) came out of Bell Labs. I moved to New Jersey and worked at Bell Labs for over 20 years.
Now I do not see Bell Labs on any list. What a shame.
I don't see the relative lack of multinationals on the desired employers list for German or Japanese engineering students having much to do with nationalism or patriotism. It's a question of opportunities. I'm a new grad and I want a job. Where *are* the jobs? If I'm in Germany or Japan, there are likely jobs in my own country, working for prestigious employers, where I will get to both apply my skills to engineering challenges and broaden my skills over my tenure.
If I'm a Chinese engineering grad, what are my options? If I desire professional growth and an opportunity to work with leading edge technologies, I might find that easier to get at a multi-national.
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