Tech giant Google has continued its reign as the employer of choice among business and engineering students surveyed, after having also taken pole position last year.

In the survey by Universum, companies in the top 10 favoured by business students in the world's largest economies included EY (previously known as Ernst & Young), Goldman Sachs, PwC, Microsoft and Apple. For engineering students, companies in the top 10 included Microsoft, IBM, Apple and the BMW Group.

Only three Asian companies - Sony, Toyota and Lenovo - figured among the top 50 employers.

Universum's World's Most Attractive Employers 2013 report is the result of polls among 200,000 students in the world's 12 largest economies - Australia, Brazil, Canada, China, France, Germany, India, Italy, Japan, Russia, the UK and the United States.

Universum is a global talent company specialising in "employer branding"; the goal of this 25-year-old company is to improve communication between students and the employers who want to recruit them.

Sony, the most highly ranked Asian company on this year's list, maintained its ninth position among engineering students, but fell three spots to 18th place among business students.

Toyota slid three positions to 21st among engineering students, and retained its 45th position among the business cohort.

Lenovo, the only Chinese company in the list, jumped seven positions to reach 37th among the engineering cohort.

Tan Ai Sim, Lenovo's human resources director for Asean, told The Business Times: "There is a combination of factors that make a company successful and attractive. Our culture is a competitive advantage, as Lenovo possesses a unique heritage born of the East - as a Chinese company - and West - through our acquisition of IBM's personal computing division.

"To top it off, we have an inspirational leader in our chief executive (Yang Yuanqing). As an acknowledgement to the employees who have contributed to Lenovo's success, he decided to distribute his US$3.25 million bonus to employees for the second year."

Tom Verbeke, the global talent acquisition lead in Sony Corporation, said: "It is hugely encouraging to see Universum's survey results confirming that talent globally wants to be part of our journey."

He added that Sony will continue focusing on recruiting top talent in a truly innovative environment where development plays a pivotal role in the business itself.

The Universum global survey revealed work-life balance, job security and challenging work to be the top career goals among university students worldwide.

Asked what their "dream job" would offer, business students cited remuneration and advancement opportunities; among engineering students, "job characteristics" was what mattered.