Universum's incredibly flawed list of places where young professionals most want to work

Absence of social networking companies from survey a bizarre and mystifying omission

What do the following organizations have in common?

Internal Revenue Service

Nestle USA

AstraZeneca

Target

Home Depot

Wegmans Food Markets

CVS Caremark

Diageo

ConAgra Foods

Newell Rubbermaid

Answer: All are included in a list of 150 employers presented to more than 10,000 young professionals in a survey by consulting firm Universum.

(Also see: Survey: Google world's No. 1 corporate brand)

The survey asked respondents to pick five ideal employers from the list. Coming out on top -- by far -- was search giant Google, selected by 24.8 percent of the college graduates. Runner-up was Apple, selected by 13.5 percent.

Other tech companies populating the list include online retailer Amazon.com (8.8 percent), Microsoft (7.7 percent), Yahoo (3.8 percent), IBM (3.5 percent), Intel (2.4 percent), Dell (2.1 percent) and AT&T (2.1 percent).

The list presented young professionals also included several other tech companies. But nowhere on the list could be found Facebook or Twitter, the two most widely known social networking companies in the world. Groupon and LinkedIn also were among the missing.

Granted, respondents were encourage to write in the names of employers not listed, and Facebook reportedly was the No. 1 write-in. Of course it was. And if it actually had been on the list, is there any doubt that it would have given Google and Apple a run for their money? In fact, I'd be surprised if Facebook didn't top the list. It's wildly popular among younger people and it's giving off white-hot heat as a potential public company, meaning valuable stock options for employees.

But for some bizarre reason, the IRS, Nestle and Home Depot made the list, but Facebook and Twitter didn't. Maybe Universum's list only included organizations that have been around for awhile or employ a certain number of workers. OK, but the point of the survey is to find out where young professionals would want to work, not where they could actually get a job. Further, I'm guessing that Facebook and Twitter are doing more hiring these days than Yahoo, which has laid off hundreds of workers in recent months.

Maybe I'm out of touch with young professionals. It could well be that Millennials prefer to interact with Facebook in their spare time, while relentlessly pursuing their lifelong dream of managing the produce section of a Wegmans. Somehow I doubt it.

Chris Nerney writes about the business side of technology market strategies and trends, legal issues, leadership changes, mergers, venture capital, IPOs and technology stocks. Follow him on Twitter @ChrisNerney.

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