GSOM SPbU experts Dmitry Kucherov, Andrey Zamulin and Victoria Tsybova conducted a study to understand how young and talented specialists see their ideal employer. It turns out that they are primarily interested not in material remuneration, but in career opportunities and the fulfillment by the company of obligations to employees.
The employer brand concept is popular today both in the science of personnel management and in consulting and business practices. It arose about 25 years ago in the UK due to the fact that it became difficult for companies to retain and attract highly qualified and talented employees in a competitive market. Then, personnel management specialists began to look for tools in related fields of business that would allow them to cope with this problem. The solution was found at the intersection of marketing, public relations and personnel management. The employer brand is an attractive image of the company in the minds of its employees, which is an effective way to attract and retain them.
To understand what role the company’s brand plays in the young specialists’ choice of their career path, a team of GSOM SPbU scientists conducted a study with participation of 159 students studying Bachelor and Master programs.
The first step was an in-depth interview on the topic “The Employer of My Dreams”. With it, scientists have identified the most important attributes of an employer's brand. It is interesting that a competitive business environment is of particular importance to students: young people perceive it as an opportunity to test their skills, abilities, stress resistance and competence in solving real problems.
Another factor influencing their choice is the industry in which the company operates.
“I would like to live my life doing what I believe in, what I consider useful. That is why, if I choose a company, I will think about the industry first,” the research participant said.
Often, large transnational corporations were mentioned as the ideal employer. The authors note that this may be due to popular stereotypes that international companies are more stable, reliable and offer better career opportunities.
“When I do HR classes, I often have to break such patterns in the heads of students. The fact is that international companies are very different: western multinational corporations are very different from eastern ones, and the picture that young professionals imagine is not always true,” said Dmitry Kucherov, one of the authors of the study, Associate Professor, Organizational Behavior and Personnel Management Department, GSOM SPbU.
Interestingly, the salary for participants of the in-depth interview often was not the most important thing. Many of them said that they would like to receive “enough money for a comfortable life”, “a white and competitive salary”. As it turned out, the “Dream Employer” is primarily a company with an open-winded and innovative culture that supports the personal and career growth of its employees, offers them a social package and has flexible working conditions.
The second part of the study involved answers to questions from a specially prepared questionnaire. Respondents had to choose one descriptions of two fictitious companies that offer competitive working conditions. It was known about one of them that it fulfills all its obligations to employees and, accordingly, has the brand of an employer. Another company did not have this quality. Participants were required to choose a company for employment and indicate for which salary they would agree to work in it. As a result, 88% of Bachelor students and 92% of Master students chose a company with a brand. At the same time, the salary for which they would agree to work in the second company increased by 33% and 14% for Bachelor and Master students, respectively.
“The employer brand is one of the important signals for young professionals when they choose a company for employment. Another thing is that each person has his own set of parameters for choosing the ideal employer. Therefore, companies need to be flexible enough and offer not only high salaries, but also other unique competitive advantages on the labor market, which are important when speaking the language of marketing and its target audience, ” said Dmitry Kucherov.
At the IV St. Petersburg International Labor Forum scientists talked about how representatives of leading companies create their own attractive brand. The moderators of the round table “Company competitiveness in the labor market” were Dmitry Kucherov and Evgeny Braulov, Deputy Head of the Human Resources Department of Russian Railways OJSC. During the session the Heads of HR Departments of leading Russian companies not only shared the best practices and secrets of attracting and retaining specialists, but also answered questions from the audience.