Student study suggests men are feeling the cost of living more than women

Annual Universum report is mostly same old, same old, but there are some interesting findings when the expectations and wishes of the different genders are considered

Maersk has been toppled from its perch as the most attractive Danish company for students, according to the latest Universum report that questioned 11,650 participants at Denmark’s eight universities between October 2022 and April 2023.

Lego Group, which ranked third in 2022, topped the list, followed by Novo Nordisk, Maersk, McKinsey & Co – the top ranked company in 2020 and 2021 – Deloitte, Boston Consulting Group, PwC, Carlsberg, Ørsted and Danske Bank.

Microsoft, Vestas, EY, Bain & Company, Bestseller, Nordea, L’Oréal Group, Bang & Olufsen, Finansministeriet and Danmarks Nationalbank completed the top 20.

Universum provided top tens in three other categories – Engineering/Natural Sciences, IT and Law – but there was little change compared to last year, with Novo Nordisk, Google and Poul Schmith again topping the respective lists.

What men and women: rarely the same
In truth, the company rankings rarely change much, but there is a noticeable trend this year when the genders are compared.

Every year, the students are asked to rank what they prioritise most, and men chose high future earnings as the most important factor, followed by good reference potential for a future career, a competitive base salary, a friendly work environment, and leaders who will support their development.

Women opted first for a friendly work environment followed by high future earnings, good reference potential for future career, the variety of assignments and an inspiring purpose.

Perhaps surprisingly, an encouraging work-life balance made neither top five, although it did rank #7 overall – an improvement of two spots on last year.

In terms of the industry they feel most drawn to, women are most interested in a career in management and strategy consulting (25 percent), education (23) and the media (22), and men in management and strategy consulting (25), computer software and technology (23) and banking (22).

Are men feeling the cost of living more?
Noticeably perhaps, women rated ‘an inspiring purpose’ third last year, but this has slipped a bit during what has been a difficult year for households.

While they placed high future earnings second, they paid little regard to the competitive base salary, suggesting they are more long-game players than their male counterparts.

But perhaps men have reacted more to the increased cost of living. Not only do they prioritise the competitive base salary more than in 2022, but on average they expected a starting monthly salary of 39,686 kroner – 11 percent more than the 35,646 kroner that women expected. 

Last year in comparison, men expected 37,786 kroner – which was only 8 percent more than the 34,727 kroner expected by women.