If 17-year-old Google is at all worried that it’s losing its mojo, it should find some new data highly reassuring. According to a survey of 19,000 students across 340 universities around the world, Google is still their top choice when asked where they’d want to work.
Their other top picks, in descending order: Apple, Microsoft, Facebook and Amazon.
The survey was conducted by Piazza, a Palo Alto, Calif.-based class discussion platform used by students and teachers around the world.
Started in 2009 by software developer Pooja Sankar while she was earning an MBA at Stanford, Piazza says its question-and-answer service is now used heavily by 30,000 educators and 1 million computer science, engineer, and math students across 1,000 universities in 60 countries.
In February of last year, the company also began targeting company recruiters. Its pitch? Piazza enables them to run targeted searches and to send high personalized messages to students thanks to the troves of data it collects about where those students attend school, the types of questions they ask, and more. There’s even a diversity add-on feature that will allow companies to search specifically for female students. (Students can opt out of the company’s recruiting product.)
It sounds like an attractive tool for recruiters who are serious about getting in front of students. And indeed, nearly 250 companies, ranging from 10-person startups to 100,000-person companies, have signed up for the service, which costs between $2,000 and six figures annually depending on the customer’s size and recruiting needs.
To further raise its profile in recruiting circles, Piazza has also begun surveying its student users about where they’d want to work — feedback it can break down for interested parties in a variety of ways.
In its new survey, for example, Stanford students ranked the private data analytics company Palantir Technologies as their fourth choice as a future employer, whereas Palantir ranked as the 15th choice among computer science students more broadly.
According to Piazza, women and men also have differences of opinion when it comes to the best places to work. For its female respondents, Facebook, Netflix and Snapchat were top picks; for men, Apple, Dropbox and LinkedIn were more attractive.
On the whole, the data creates an interesting snapshot of how top students see the world right now. Unfortunately, why the companies received the rankings they did are left for them to discern.
For example, according to Piazza’s survey, Dropbox is no longer quite as popular a target for M.I.T. students as it was last year, but the data doesn’t explain what changed. Maybe Dropbox has spent less time courting MIT students of late. Then again, the company could be suffering from general concerns over its continuing struggles to make money.
Similarly, undergraduate students ranked Snapchat and Spotify much more highly than graduate students, but both companies may be left puzzling over why. (We are.)
Of course, in today’s world, where recruiting top computer science and other STEM graduates has become cutthroat, presumably any student feedback has some value. “If I’m Google and I’m worrying that other companies are becoming bigger and sexier and I’m losing my brand, these findings are nice to know,” says Sankar. “Companies can look back and better understand: Is what I’m doing working or not?”
For much more on the survey’s conclusions, click here.