Google and other high-tech companies are popular  with graduates (Photo: Google)

Google is the preferred employer for graduates of European universities' engineering and IT departments as well as its business schools, according to a new survey.

Apple comes second in the rankings for business school graduates and Volkswagen Group, which was in second place last year, is now in third position. For engineering and IT graduates, Microsoft replaced VW as the number 2 preferred employer.

The survey was conducted by market researchers Trendence, which polled more than 300,000 students.

IT companies, including Microsoft, were, in general, among the winners in the survey. "Microsoft has developed national strategies for invidual European countries," said Trendence managing director Holger Koch. "That gives it the opportunity to respond flexibly to the requirements and desires of graduates in these countries," he said in a statement.

With Google, Microsoft, Apple and IBM, the top 10 most beloved employers in Europe count four IT companies in their ranks.

Koch noted that big German companies are slipping in popularity with university graduates, at least in part because of Volkswagen's admitted deceit with emissions tests for its vehicles. Said Koch: "Afgter Dieselgate, 'Made in Germany" has lost its power of attraction."

The full Trendence rankings are available at: