CIPD: Global employers are failing to attract the right mix of talent because of unappealing or confusing employer brands, according to advisory firm CEB. More than three-quarters of companies around the globe have invested in formal employer branding initiatives in the past three years yet only a quarter of candidates applying for roles are high quality.
However, the number of applicants per open position has risen significantly (33 per cent) over the same period, which suggests that employers have simply succeeded in attracting more, not better people.
In a series of interviews with recruiting and brand executives and an online survey of more than 2,000 recruiting staff from North America, Asia Pacific, Europe and the Middle East, CEB found that employers are under increasing pressure to attract new types of talent.
Two-thirds of respondents to the CEB 2014 Employment Branding Effectiveness Survey said they were attracting more candidates from new or different labour markets compared to three years ago, because of increasing globalisation.
And while efforts have been ramped up to become known as a great place to work in relatively unknown markets, current employer brand initiatives, and mass communication methods are “universally unappealing” to the global workforce, CEB said.
One example of a client testimonial collected for CEB’s employer brand survey, said: “The talent we need for our biggest growth area isn’t attracted to our corporate brand.”
Jean Martin, executive director at CEB, added: “Today’s employers face greater challenges than ever in attracting the right mix of talent, especially as the economy allows for a move from survival to growth mode.
“As businesses diversify their products and services, they have to hire people with skills their brand was never designed to attract,” he said.
When asked where potential applicants accessed information prior to joining a company, the majority said they relied on “other sources”, rather than communication from the organisation, with 61 per cent stating they were more sceptical about what employers say about themselves, compared to three years ago.
CEB suggests that efforts needed to shift from building an employment brand that appeals to everyone, to helping people make an informed decision on whether or not to apply for a particular position.
“Employers simply cannot carry on doing what they’ve always done. Branding for universal appeal just results in more headaches for the HR team who have to sift through a greater volume of low-grade candidates. Companies have to stop chasing universal popularity and adapt a ‘lure the best, deflect the rest’ mindset to employment branding,” Martin said.