European companies used to attracting the cream of science and engineering graduates are losing out to so-called new economy employers.
A survey by recruitment and consulting specialist Universum found that graduates are increasingly attracted to the telecoms industry.
Nokia is now the employer most engineering and science graduates want to work for. Last year it was the eighth most popular choice.
Andersen Consulting, which was ranked first last year, has fallen to seventh position in 2000.
The survey questioned students at 63 leading universities in 10 European countries.
Nokia has also increased its popularity among business students, moving from 22nd to fourth place this year.
But McKinsey remains the top employer for this group of students, followed by Boston Consulting Group and Andersen Consulting.
The Universum Graduate Survey 2000 – Pan-European Edition report concludes, “The rapid expansion of the telecommunications industry has not passed unnoticed among European students with the popularity of employers such as Nokia and Ericsson having risen greatly since last year’s survey.” It added, “It is the skyrocketing importance of the new economy that challenges the established order.
“Telecoms, the Internet, and even entrepreneurship are appealing more and more to technically savvy students.”
Fiona Forsyth, HR coordinator at Scottish software development company Real Time Engineering, said the graduate recruitment market continues to be highly competitive. She said, “We have put a lot of effort into our graduate recruitment campaign this year and as a result have succeeded in making seven offers.
“Our experience is that things are pretty tough at the moment and other companies we know that other companies are finding the same thing.
“We are all interested in finding out why it is so difficult.”