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78% say employer branding is a critical strategy to remain competitive in an economic slowdown

By Universum, 2023-05-30

Universum’s Employer Branding NOW 2023 survey, now in its 8th year, reveals how talent leaders are facing the twin challenges of economic uncertainty and keen competition.

STOCKHOLM, SWEDEN, May 30th, 2023 -Universum’s Employer Branding NOW 2023 study, conducted during the first quarter of this year, shows students and working professionals are confident about the hiring market – this despite slowdowns in certain industries and regions. Eight in 10 students say they are confident about securing a job in the coming year, and over 50% claimed to be interested in moving jobs within the next 12 months. Even in the event of a layoff, nearly 9 in 10 professionals say they are confident about getting a new job.

“Notwithstanding a flurry of news about layoffs and economic contraction, most companies are still struggling with a talent shortfall, and the problem isn’t going to improve anytime soon,” explains Yusuf Azoz, CEO of Universum. 

Universum, the global leader in employer branding, surveyed over 1,700 talent leaders from 75 countries between February 15 and March 31, 2023, and over 1000 students and professionals from 11 leading economies* during a similar period. The research looks at a wide range of issues including employer branding, recruitment marketing budgets, data-driven decision-making, talent perceptions and employee engagement. The survey includes insights from the World’s Most Attractive Employers (WMAEs), a cohort of the top global employers as identified by job seekers around the world. 

Against this backdrop of continued talent shortages and candidate confidence in the job market notable findings from the 2023 research include: 

Employer branding is even more critical in 2023. Among the WMAE, 78% say employer branding is a top priority —up 11 points in two years. Even for small- and medium-sized employers, the majority say employer branding is a critical area of HR investment. 

Recruitment marketing budgets remain high. Nearly half (48%) of the WMAE report their employer branding budget has increased since 2022 – a notable finding given hiring slowdowns. 

Differentiation is a key mandate in 2023. Given the competition for top talent, employer branding professionals are focused on standing out from competitors; 60% of the WMAE say differentiating their employer brands and EVPs from competitors will be a key objective in the coming year. 

Many employer brands are revising their EVP. Employee well-being and flexible working conditions — areas of focus during the pandemic years — are now emphasized in fewer than one in three EVPs. The potential reason: these have become baseline expectations, and therefore provide limited differentiation. 

Employee experience design is increasingly important to employer brand strategy. We found an increase in the number of leading global employers who claimed that leadership development and people management practices were being influenced by their employer brand strategies.

Data-driven decision making is now the norm. In 2023, 88% of companies in the World’s Most Attractive Employers say they “frequently” or “always” use data to drive decisions, with an increasing use of dashboards to monitor the recruitment funnel from brand awareness and candidate conversion, to employee engagement and retention.

“Data-driven insights are absolutely critical when talent markets are in flux, as they are now,” says Richard Mosley, Universum Global Client Director.

*Markets included in the talent survey: Brazil, Canada, China, France, Germany, Italy, India, Mexico, Sweden, UK, US.

What are the most important Employer Branding trends in 2023?

Read the full report and discover the trends and insights in our Employer Branding NOW 2023 report.
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