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Employer branding: identifying the employer attractiveness attributes of potential and existing employees

By Martin Feulner


Professional Doctorate - Doctorate of Business Administration (DBA)Considering the increasing globalization of business activities and demographic changes in industrialized countries, many labor markets worldwide have been gradually changing to ‘supply-driven markets’, in which employees assume a dominant position. Therefore, companies had to develop and implement valuable strategies in order to attract highly qualified job seekers and retain their existing talents. Employee Branding is one of the key theories that is helping to achieve this. Hence, the demand for information and research related to this topic has increased in recent years. A sample of 3,264 potential and 156 current employees were selected for a quantitative research project. The first part of the study identified the significant factors which attract students enrolled in German universities related to individual-level characteristics for specific segments of student, namely gender and main field of study. The second part included the experience-level factor comparing the preferred employer attractiveness attributes selected by the potential employees enrolled in German universities and current employees working for one German multinational company. The study demonstrates that the individual-level factors gender and main field of study show significant differences. The employer attractiveness attributes ‘good work-life balance’ and ‘strong cooperation with colleagues & supervisors’ were seen as significantly more important to female students, whereas ‘above average salary increases’ was rated significantly higher by male students. Related to the individual-level factor main field of study, business students evaluated ‘above average salary increases’ and ‘working for an international operating employer’ significantly higher than natural science and engineering students did. Applying for a job at a ‘company driven by innovation’ was seen as significantly more important to natural science and engineering students than it was to business students. This study further tested the importance of the factor of work-experience and revealed that the employer attractiveness attributes of ‘good work-life balance’ and ‘salary’ were evaluated significantly higher by current employees than by potential employees. Only ‘strong relationship with colleagues and supervisors’ didn’t show a significant difference between the two groups. It can, therefore, be concluded that individual-level and work experience-level factors play a significant role and should be taken into consideration when developing and implementing an employer branding strategy. The results of this study shows that it is advisable for HR managers to address certain groups of employees with target specific employer value propositions. Beside the empirical findings, this research provides general theoretical implications and contributes to a further consolidation of the theoretical foundations of the employer branding concept. Based on the findings of the study, managers can gain meaningful knowledge on how to strategically develop their employer brand, in order to attract talented job seekers and retain their highly qualified employees. The paper also identifies the limitations of the study and suggests the directions for future research

Topics: employer branding, employer attractiveness
Year: 2016
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