A couple weeks back, employer branding leaders Universum Global and online careers resource DHI Group, Inc., released the 2017 edition of the annual "Employer Branding Now" report. Based on a survey of roughly 2,500 HR managers, marketing managers, talent acquisition managers, recruiting managers,and resourcing managers from 50 different countries, the report found that employer branding has grown in importance over the last year, with more and more companies defining their employer value propositions (EVPs), investing in social media marketing, and focusing more heavily on employee advocacy.
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Richard Mosley, Universum's global head of strategy, says the growing importance of employer branding partly results from the simple fact that more companies are recognizing the role of employer branding in recruitment marketing – but that's not the only factor at work.
"[It's] also a reflection of growing competition for talent in the global labor market," Mosley notes.
In other words: Skills gaps and talent shortages are forcing employers of all sizes to fight harder for top talent. More investment in employer branding is one way for companies to get the upper hand over competitors in the labor market.
Mosley also believes that the "growing role of social media" is driving more employer branding efforts, as companies find they have to "provide more shape and direction to general employer-related content versus more job-specific advertising" on platforms like Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and so on.
Bigger Companies Are Investing More in Employer Branding
While companies of all sizes are engaging in employer branding initiatives, Universum's report found that large companies were, on the whole, more concerned with employer branding than smaller companies.
For example, 67 percent of large companies had developed EVPs, compared to 55 percent of medium companies and 30 percent of small companies. Similarly, 61 percent of large companies had employer branding strategies already in place, compared to 49 percent of medium companies and 37 percent of small companies. Finally, larger companies were more likely to consider employer branding a "top priority" for the coming year.
One might assume that larger companies were outpacing medium and small companies because they had more resources to leverage, but there's more to it than that.
"We found that larger companies are feeling the competition for talent more acutely, both from other larger companies and smaller startup companies that appear to offer more millennial-friendly work environments and more opportunities to make an impact," Mosley says.
It's not so much that larger companies are outmaneuvering smaller ones as it is that smaller ones are putting the pressure on larger companies to make employer branding a priority. Large companies have to prove to candidates that they offer the same engaging work environments and meaningful work that small and medium-sized companies do. Given that most of us more readily associate these things with startups, it should come as no surprise that large companies have to put in more legwork to get the same message across.
The World's Most Attractive Employers Agree: Employer Branding Matters
While large companies outpaced small and medium-sized companies in employer branding efforts, one group is even further ahead: the "World's Most Attractive Employers" (WMAEs).
These are companies identified by another Universum study as the employers most attractive to business and engineering/IT students around the world. Google, Goldman Sachs, and Apple were top of the list for 2017.
Whereas 67 percent of large organizations had EVPs, 84 percent of WMAEs had them. Sixty-one percent of large employers had branding strategies in place, but 68 percent of WMAEs did.
What does all this mean for your organization's recruiting efforts? Well, if the most attractive employers in the world are putting time and money into employer branding, shouldn't your company follow their lead?