Indigenous brands trump tech in workers’ eyes

Silicon Docks firms less attractive than civil service or indigenous corporates in workers’ eyes, according to the latest Universum Most Attractive Employers Index.

Multiple Irish companies as well as public service and semi-state bodies have gained in popularity among Irish professionals in the past 12 months, according to research by Universum, part of

By contrast, many of the large tech multinational companies remained stagnant, or witnessed modest decreases in this year’s working professional’s preferences.

“This can perhaps in part be attributed to the pandemic, and the proactive role that many public and private sector organisations played in providing support for their employees and the communities in which they operate”

The Most Attractive Employers Index 2021 which was conducted amongst 11,022 working professionals across business, IT, health, engineering, natural sciences and law in Ireland reveals that multiple indigenous Irish companies have moved up in professional’s rankings when compared to 2020.

According to the data Irish Distillers, Musgrave Group and Glanbia were amongst the main Irish companies that experienced growth, ranking in the top 30 ratings for professionals across business, engineering, and IT. 

Multiple public service and semi-state-state bodies also featured prominently in the rankings.  The Civil Service, HSE, Department of Education, An Garda Síochána, Enterprise Ireland and ESB all increased in popularity amongst Irish professionals in the last 12 months.

Business brands

Rank 2021   Company   Trend* 
Civil Service 0
Amazon +8
HSE  0
Apple +3
Diageo +1
Facebook -4
Kerry Group -3
Microsoft +8
10  Irish Distillers +8

*Trend: Ranking compared to 2020.

Amongst business professionals, Kerry Group (8th, -3) and Irish Distillers (10th, +8) were the most popular indigenous Irish companies to work for; meanwhile Musgraves Group (16th, +3), and Glanbia (19th, -5) also ranked in the top 20. 

Similarly, public service and semi-state roles prove popular amongst business students with the Civil Service (2nd, no change) and the Health Service Executive (HSE) (4th, no change) featuring within the top 10. These were closely followed by the Department of Education (12th, no change), Enterprise Ireland (13th, -7), Central Bank of Ireland (14th, -1) and An Garda Siochána (15th, +8).

Large multinational tech companies including Facebook (7th, -4), LinkedIn (17th, -8) and Salesforce (27th, -1) decreased in this year’s list.


Rank 2021   Company   Trend* 
Pfizer +4
Jacobs Engineering +2
ESB -1
Intel +3
Google -4 
Civil Service +4
Stryker Newly Listed
Boston Scientific -2
Johnson & Johnson -6
10  Apple -1

*Trend: Ranking compared to 2020.

According to the latest data, Pfizer, Jacobs Engineering, and Intel all improved on their 2020 rankings amongst engineering professionals. 

Meanwhile, Irish Distillers (21st, -6) and Glanbia (28th, +2) ranked the highest in terms of indigenous Irish companies. While the ESB (3rd, -1), the Civil Service (6th, +4), the Department of Education (14th, +6) and the Irish Aviation Authority (15th, -2) were amongst the public service and semi states that featured within the top 30.


Rank 2021   Company   Trend* 
Google 0
Microsoft 0
Amazon 1
Facebook -1
Civil Service +3
Apple -1
HSE +12
Department of Education +8
An Garda Síochána +9
10  LinkedIn -4

*Trend: Ranking compared to 2020.

According to the data, IT professionals are less likely to rank Irish indigenous companies within their top employer preferences with Irish Distillers (25th, +25) being the only company to make the top 30 list. However, Glanbia was only four places short, ranking 34th place (+43).

Similarly, to business and engineering professionals, those within the IT sector also prefer public service and semi-states roles with the Civil Service (5th, +3), the HSE (7th, +12), the Department of Education (8th, +8), An Garda Síochána (9th, +9), Enterprise Ireland (13th, +11) and the ESB (17th, +4) all increasing in ratings this year.

Facebook (4th, -1), Apple (6th, -1), LinkedIn (10th, -4) and Salesforce (12th, -1) all decreased in ratings among this group.

The ‘great resignation’

“According to our latest research, over half (55pc) of all Irish working professionals are interested in changing employer within the next twelve months,” said Steve Ward, UK and Ireland director for Universum.

“As employers gear up for what experts are referring to as the ‘great resignation’, understanding the motives and priorities of the workforce will be key to attracting and retaining talent.

“Every year, we see changes in the needs and priorities of the Irish workforce. This is inevitable and reflects the evolving nature of people’s lives and the emergence of new trends, challenges, and opportunities.  Covid-19 has seen this process accelerate and as a result, many professionals are now reconsidering what they want their working life to look like.  

“When we look at our 2021 Most Attractive Employers Index, many Irish employers will be encouraged to see the strong performance amongst many indigenous Irish public and private sector organisations.   This can perhaps in part be attributed to the pandemic, and the proactive role that many public and private sector organisations played in providing support for their employees and the communities in which they operate.

“Overall, employers today must work harder than before to meet their recruitment objectives, however, there is a genuine opportunity for Irish employers to capitalise on today’s positive professional sentiment toward their organisations. To do so, this process starts with first understanding the needs and expectations of prospective candidates and what will compel them to consider changing roles.

“By extension, the more progressive and forward-thinking employers recognise that a one-size-fits-all approach to employer branding and recruitment doesn’t work.  Instead, employers need to take the time to understand the push and pull factors amongst the different demographics of professionals to ensure that their offering aligns with the priorities and preferences of the market segment they’re seeking to target,” Ward said.