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4 out of 5 of the ‘World’s Most Attractive Employers’ Say Hiring Environment Will Get Harder in Next 12 Months 

By Universum on 25/06/2019

Universum’s Employer Branding NOW 2019 research shows talent leaders face deeply challenging hiring conditions; yet many are slow to adopt the technologies that can help them innovate, communicate at scale and become more engaging talent brands.    

STOCKHOLM, SWEDEN, June 13, 2019 – New research from Universum shows employers face strong headwinds over the next 12 months as they vie for top talent. In its annual Employer Branding NOW 2019 research report, Universum reveals the majority of HR and talent leaders report hiring conditions are getting tougher, particularly those working for larger companies, where 59% say they expect conditions to worsen. 

“We’ve been hearing about recruiting challenges for some time, but what has changed this year is that the world’s most iconic brands are voicing concern over the issue,” says Universum CMO, Jonas Barck. “The World’s Most Attractive Employers are 33% more likely than other large employers to say the hiring environment is getting harder, which may be an important barometer for the talent marketplace at large.”  

Universum, the global leader in employer branding, surveyed over 1,600 human resources and talent management leaders from 45 countries in early 2019. The Employer Branding NOW 2019 research mines insights about the state of employer branding; it also collects ideas from the World’s Most Attractive Employers (WMAEs), a cohort of the top global employers as identified by job seekers around the globe.  

Among other noteworthy findings from the research:  

Employer branding remains a top priority for companies large and small. While larger companies are more likely to prioritize employer branding (66% of talent leaders at large companies say it’s a top priority), small companies are not far behind. 61% of talent leaders from small companies say it’s one of their top priorities.  

Large companies view startups as a serious recruiting threat. The threat is felt most acutely among the World’s Most Attractive Employers, where 38% are “very concerned” about competing against startups for talent (and another 55% are “somewhat concerned” by the development). 

“Even highly sought-after global companies view startups as serious competition for talent,” says Universum Global Head of Strategy and Advisory, Richard Mosley. “Top employers are becoming much savvier about winning over the most coveted young professionals like data scientists, developers and analysts. Expect to see more big companies adopt EVPs that reflect some of the ethos of smaller companies, such as “purpose” and “innovation.” 

Attitudes about using artificial intelligence (AI) in recruiting vary widely based on company size. Only half of talent leaders from large companies feel positively about AI, and just one-third of those at smaller companies—this despite early evidence of AI’s power to transform recruiting. The biggest recruitment marketing game changer for companies of all sizes according to the Employer Branding NOW research is expected to be AI-driven candidate search and selection .As the applications of AI expand, recruiters will have to walk a very careful line between leveraging the incredible intelligence and efficiency of these tools, while being mindful of candidate privacy and labor regulations. 

Investment in chatbots still modest, but on the rise. Overall just 19% of those surveyed are using chatbots. Of those invested in chatbots, 60% expect to increase their investment, an early sign that the technology is paying off for the majority of users. Larger companies are more likely to adopt chatbots because the technology allows global companies to field questions from job candidates at scale and deliver early, positive brand experiences to would-be job seekers.  

Recruiting for diversity a growing priority. While a commitment to “diversity and inclusion” is an uncommon EVP among small and mid-size companies (less than 13% cite it), talent leaders from large companies, particularly the most recognized global brands, are much more likely to be using diversity as an EVP in 2019. In 2016, just 23% of WMAE brands cited diversity as an employer value proposition (EVP), while 37% did so in 2019–a jump of 61%. 

“Outside of the largest, most valuable employer brands, emphasizing diversity in recruiting is still not a priority, but we expect this to change,” says Universum Global Accounts Director Claudia Tattanelli. “As more data becomes publicly available about the gender, racial and ethnic composition of companies, and in particular of leadership roles within companies, we expect organizations will become more thoughtful about reviewing their hiring practices and making changes where they are overdue.”  

Click here to download a copy of the full Employer Branding NOW report, which includes additional research about topics such as EVPs by region, employee advocacy, data-driven recruiting and workforce planning

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About Universum 

Universum, part of the StepStone Group, is a global thought leader in Employer Branding. With 30 years of valuable experience in the field of employer branding, we have established ourselves in 60 markets globally, and our diverse workforce is physically present in 20 countries. We are uniquely positioned through our talent surveys to deliver key insights to recruiters about what future talent is looking for in a company. Our data-led, human and meaningful output has attracted 1,700 clients, including many Fortune 500 companies, as well as global media partners that publish our annual rankings and trend reports. Find out more at www.universumglobal.com