Law firms slide in top 100 graduate employers in Australia

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Eight law firms have earned spots in GradAustralia’s annual Top 100 Graduate Employers list, but seven of them slid in the rankings while one retained its rank from last year.

Australia’s Big Six – Allens, Ashurst, Clayton Utz, Herbert Smith Freehills, King & Wood Mallesons, MinterEllison – are still desired as employers by graduates, just not as much as during the first iteration of the survey. The Big Six are joined by Corrs Chambers Westgarth, which was also less sought-after, and DLA Piper, which kept its 2016 ranking.

HSF placed 35th in this year’s list, down from 17 in 2016. It was followed by KWM (37th from 25th), Allens (48th from 35th), MinterEllison (63rd from 47th), Clayton Utz (65th from 52nd), Ashurst (73rd from 66th), Corrs (77th from 71st), and DLA Piper (92nd).

Topping the list was Google, which also led last year’s ranking, followed by Deloitte Australia, also second last year. PwC Australia placed third, up from fifth last year; followed by Apple, which made a massive leap from 70th; and EY, which dropped from fourth.

At sixth is KPMG, which retained its spot, followed by Commonwealth Bank, which was previously third. Microsoft, Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade, and BHP Billiton complete the top 10, respectively, all sliding one spot from 2016.

Sue Gilchrist, HSF regional managing partner for Asia and Australia, said that the firm realises that its next leaders are among the graduates they take in each year, which is why the firm commits to their professional development and makes them feel they are contributing to the firm from their first day.

According to Gilchrist, graduates are simultaneously exposed to complex and challenging matters, building their technical skills, and encouraged to develop working relationships. HSF said it also focuses on hiring from diverse backgrounds.

The GradAustralia survey involved about 14,000 upcoming Australian graduates from multiple educational institutions across the country. Among the respondents, 61% were about to earn their bachelors degrees, 29% their masters degrees, and 10% other post-graduate degrees. Most (30%) were studying finance, accounting, economics and business administration; followed by engineering, mathematics, IT and computer sciences (27%); humanities, arts, and social sciences (11%); sciences (10%); and law and legal studies (9%).


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