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View of the 2020 Talent Market

Posted by on Mar 2, 2015 in Press Releases

Over 2000 CEOs and HR professionals give their view of the future talent market

  • Personality and communications skills considered most important in new hires
  • Only 3 of 10 professionals surveyed say they have a comprehensive communication strategy in place for talent

In a recent global survey of more than 2,000 CEOs and HR professionals, Universum uncovered how the C-level and other senior executives view talent and recruitment in the next five years.

Employers are all after “top talent” – but what does this actually mean?  When asked about the most important qualifications for hires, not surprisingly, respondents listed “work experience” as number one.  This is also predicted to become even more important in the next five years, perhaps indicating the growing importance of internships and development programs that allow early work experience.  That said, the data also revealed some surprises.

Employees will be chosen on personality and communications skills.

Interestingly, “personality” and “communication skills” came in as the second and third most important qualifications – placing well before grades, academic pedigree, and leadership experience.  This is not to say that one’s education isn’t important, but it’s considered by employers as more of a given in today’s labor market. Moreover, what people study doesn’t necessarily indicate how well they’ll perform. What is taking precedence in the way companies recruit, however, is our increasing emphasis on the cultural fit of new hires.

“The importance of culture fit has interesting implications for employers,” said Peter Götenstedt, Global Head of Consulting, Universum.  “As companies continue to become more data-driven in their hiring, we will start to see some interesting ways in which data will be used to measure personality and soft skills.”

The most in-demand career type is “leader,” both today and in the next 5 years.  Interestingly, although most functions agree that they need leaders, CEOs have different expectations of what “leaders” mean.  According to CEOs surveyed, 26 percent believe leaders empower their employees, 31 percent say they are goal-oriented, and 26 percent say they have high levels of responsibility. Some 31 percent of HR specialists also believe they clearly define development plans for their teams, while 27 percent of marketing managers believe that leaders need to be role models.

As companies focus increasingly on culture fit, it will be important for them to communicate clearly about what traits they are actually looking for.

It’s time to get social.

Despite employer branding being such a high priority for many organizations, only about 30% of companies surveyed have a comprehensive communication strategy in place.

Social media is seen as the most important channel for communicating an employer brand, and perhaps not surprisingly, the majority of respondents expect their social media budget to increase in the next 5 years.  That said, only about 20% of companies currently have a fulltime employee responsible for employer branding on social media.

“Social media is becoming more popular because it allows companies to do more with less – but that means they are going to need to focus on differentiation,” said David Brudenell, Global Vice President of Product, Universum.  “Social media is already becoming a very crowded space, and if employers aren’t intentional and data-driven in their social media efforts, they will have difficulty being successful.” Currently, about half of companies measure their social media with KPIs – though this is predicted to increase to about 70% in the next 5 years.

Employer branding is not just a job for HR.

Employer branding is prioritized and approached by different functions and in different industries.  While employer branding clearly seems to be growing in importance, the ways in which companies define it seems to differ depending on who you ask.

As employer branding continues to evolve, a question that continuously arises is: “Whose job is it?”  Does the responsibility sit with HR, or with corporate branding?  Recruitment teams or CEOs?

According to survey respondents, the answer is: “All of the above.”  Respondents indicated that Corporate Communication and Marketing departments at their organizations are largely responsible for employer branding activities.  That said, it’s mainly HR teams and CEOs who are held accountable for results.

“The intersection of HR, marketing, and C-level priorities is interesting, because it shows that teams will need to increasingly work together to achieve the right results,” says Petter Nylander, Global CEO for Universum.  “Accountability on the C-level and HR side and cross departmental cooperation is imperative for employers to excel in their employer branding activities.”

Interestingly, while over 60% of each marketing, HR, and communications teams see the need for these stakeholders to cooperate more closely over the next five years, only about 53% of CEOs see this as necessary.

For more insights from the survey, as well as industry breakdowns, visit

State of Employer Branding



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 Press Contact:

Jonas Barck : Global Director of Media Relations

Jonas Barck

Global Director of Media Relations

jonas.barck +46 70 693 33 88


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