GRADUATING students don't want to work in the public sector, but the reverse is true for older professionals who crave its security and work-life balance, according to the Most Attractive Employer Index.
The survey of 11,769 students and 7,314 professionals across Ireland - conducted for recruitment firm IrishJobs.ie by its sister firm Universum - shows a strong shift in attitudes between job hunters just starting their working life and those deep into their careers.
Respondents were grouped by career into business, engineering, IT and health.
Among graduates, Google topped the list for the first three groups.
Only those planning to work in health picked a public sector body - the Health Service Executive - as their most attractive employer. And even among those graduates, Google made sixth place.
If they can't land a job on Barrow Street, most business graduates say they would like to work at Apple, KPMG, Facebook, PwC, Deloitte, Microsoft, EY, Amazon or AIB - in that order.
Enterprise Ireland makes 38th place, the Department of Education 41st, and Foreign Affairs 45th.
When asked the same question, experienced business professionals said they too most dreamed of working for Google - but the Civil Service would be second choice.
And while they highly valued work at Facebook (3rd), Kerry Group (5th), Diageo, Apple, LinkedIn and Aer Lingus (7th to 10th), business professionals aspire to the HSE (4th) and Enterprise Ireland (6th), too.
"What surprised me was the number of public sector employers on the professionals' list," said IrishJobs.ie general manager Orla Moran.
She said it's "extremely hard" to make the top 10, given there are 250,000 firms and 500 public sector bodies in Ireland.
"Graduates may view their career through a narrow lens: a good salary, fast progression, and a cool office space," she said. "That changes as life goes on and you've more commitments - bills, children and everything else."
She said older workers were not simply attracted "to the security of the public sector - although in a crisis like Covid-19, security is a massive plus".
"There's roles with good salaries. And you won't be working all hours. You have flexibility, which is handy for commuting and picking your kids up from school. That's a massive plus for parents."