Pharmaceutical and healthcare roles most desirable to students, survey finds

Pharmaceutical and healthcare roles most desirable to students, survey finds

James Cox

Pharmaceutical and healthcare companies have experienced a rise in employer rankings among Gen Z students following the Covid-19 pandemic, according to the latest research by e-recruitment platform

The Most Attractive Employers Index Ireland 2021, carried out in partnership with employer brand specialist Universum, was conducted among 10,043 students across business, IT, engineering, natural sciences, humanities, law and health in Ireland.

It reveals that students across all sectors are increasingly ranking pharma and healthcare companies as the most desired places to work.

Pfizer/Johnson & Johnson


According to the data, Pfizer and Johnson & Johnson showed particularly strong growth, moving up the rankings across most industries over the past year.

“The growth in popularity of those within the healthcare space over the past year is a very tangible reflection of how the pandemic has shaped the attitudes and aspirations of young talent in Ireland. Clearly, the unprecedented contributions made by the health and pharma community in both the public and private sector has resonated with young people”, said Steve Ward, UK and Ireland business director for Universum.

“Understanding the priorities of the newest cohort of talent entering the labour market will be crucial in attracting and retaining talent in the year ahead, and the Most Attractive Employers Index is one of the first pieces of data that captures the ongoing changes in student preferences.”

Business breakdown

The top employers for students in the business sector are predominantly within the tech and professional services industries including Google, Apple, KPMG, Deloitte and PWC who ranked within the top five.


However, pharmaceutical companies have shown significant growth amongst business students with Pfizer (23rd, + 18 places compared to 2020) and Johnson & Johnson (27th, +12) both entering the top 30 list this year.

The Health Service Executive (HSE) also recorded some of the greatest gains within this cohort of students, moving up 16 places when compared to 2020 (49th vs 65th).

Engineering Breakdown

According to the research, jobs within the healthcare sector are particularly popular amongst engineering students, with Pfizer, Johnson & Johnson and Boston Scientific all ranking within the top five in 2021.

In addition, Medtech company Stryker, also entered the engineering rankings for the first time this year, entering the list in tenth position.


Engineering students were the only student group to rank Johnson & Johnson lower in 2021, dropping one place compared to last year.

IT students

Google, Microsoft, Apple and Amazon all managed to hold their positions in the top four rankings for IT students in 2021, with Intel moving up the rankings to replace Facebook in the top five.

Pharmaceutical and healthcare companies also experienced significant growth within the IT rankings with Boston Scientific (26th, +6), Pfizer (29th, +19) and Johnson & Johnson (30th, +5) all making the top 30 list for the first time.