Every year all the companies, research institutes and other bodies that recruit academics keenly await the appearance of these lists.
Now, the results of Universum's questionnaire survey are here to tell us which employers Norwegian students regard as the country's most attractive. This year's responses make pleasant reading for SINTEF.
Number one among the biggest educational institutions
On the national list for students of engineering and natural sciences, SINTEF has risen to third place from fifth last year. The list is led by Statoil, with the Kongsberg Group coming second.
Among students in these subjects from NTNU in Trondheim (Norwegian University of Science and Technology) and the University of Oslo, no potential employer is more popular than SINTEF. This is the first time that SINTEF has gone right to the top among young people who are studying at Norway's two biggest universities.
How they see us
SINTEF's human resources director Ingeborg Lund thinks that the historic first place is very good news. She is particularly pleased with the list of characteristics that the students associate with SINTEF:
"Students perceive us as a work-place that plays an inspiring role in society. They also perceive us as a work-place that offers them challenging tasks with opportunities for self-development and the opportunity to be innovative in a good work environment. This is really not so surprising, because that is just what new employees give as their reason for applying for a job here," says Lund.
Flight from oil and gas – or vote of confidence?
"Could these flattering results in this year's survey simply be due to the fact that times are hard in the petroleum sector?"
"Of course, it may well be that we are regarded as a secure work-place now that the oil and gas industry is struggling. But the repercussions of the petroleum sector's problems affect many other sectors of industry. So it is quite reasonable to interpret the results of the survey as a vote of confidence; i.e. that students believe that SINTEF will make it through these difficult times. It may also be an expression of their belief that research is an important facet of the restructuring process that Norway is undergoing."
Particularly popular with the girls
Female students have placed SINTEF even higher on their wish-list than their male colleagues.
On the national list for girls in engineering and natural sciences, SINTEF was actually the second most attractive work-place in Norway, while the boys ranked SINTEF fifth.
Seeking a well-balanced life
What many students who want to work at SINTEF have in common is that they are keen to be offered professional and intellectual challenges that will also leave them room for a life beyond their work.
This profile has been unchanged among this group of students for most of the past decade.
In total no fewer than 15,643 students within the fields of Engineering/Natural Science, Business/Commerce and Law from 133 different courses of study took part in the survey.