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Aalto University School of Business Master's Theses are now in the Aaltodoc publication archive (Aalto University institutional repository)
School of Business | Department of Marketing and Management | International Business | 2009
Thesis number: 12168
Attracting graduates: employer branding in the war for the talent
Author: Geh, Giselda
Title: Attracting graduates: employer branding in the war for the talent
Year: 2009  Language: eng
Department: Department of Marketing and Management
Academic subject: International Business
Index terms: kansainväliset yhtiöt; international companies; rekrytointi; recruiting; brandit; brands; työ; work; tietotalous; knowledge economy; kohderyhmät; target groups
Pages: 118
Key terms: employer brand, war for talent, knowledge economy, graduates, recruitment, ideal work place, meaning of work, career, Generation Y, qualitative research, cultural approach, focus groups, discursive analysis
Background – The war for talent and employer branding have become topical issues in recent years in popular press, as organizations are preparing themselves for major changes in labor market and expected labor shortage, which is likely to affect organizations’ success and survival particularly in knowledge intensive sectors. Literature suggests that organizations can differentiate themselves from competitors with a distinct employer brand, and consequently enhance their position when competing for skilled employees in a tight labor market.

Results of the study suggest that today’s university graduates are value-driven, i.e. motivate to work for an organization that treats their employees fairly, as well as behave responsibly in relation to society and environment. Ideal work place provides employees with good spirit, collaboration, flexibility, challenges, meaningful work content, trust, acknowledgement, and interesting career development opportunities. In recruitment process, organizations that consider it as a dialogue and treat individuals friendly and professionally, as well as show them genuine interest and respect seem to be better off than those who fail to do that. These results resonate well with the articles written about Generation Y and knowledge workers.

Main findings – The main argument of the study based on empirical research is that employer branding ranking surveys are often simplistically interpreted, and being on these lists correlates often more with the general awareness of companies and their brands among large populations rather than decisions and attitudes when individuals actually seek employment. For majority of focus group participants the job description and work content are more important factors, as well as industry and career development opportunities available than the company itself. Still, awareness and familiarity are crucial, as few people apply to organizations whose name they do not recognize, suggesting that employer brand image’s main role is to create awareness among target employees, and after that differentiate organization from competitors. In addition, values communicated in employer brand can provide a strong link between organizations and employees. Communicating a story or a myth that convinces target employees about organization’s reason for being and resonates in a historical and cultural context can be a powerful way to develop and differentiate also employer brands.

Summary – In this report, employer branding and war for talent literature are reviewed, as well as the main conjunction points related to topic with strategic human resource management and recruitment research. The empirical study is done with qualitative methods and from a cultural marketing research approach, main data collection method being focus groups. The interpretation is done with a discursive analysis technique focusing on cultural discourses related to work and career that enable and constraint individuals in their every day life, and guide them when making decisions related to work, and employer brands.
Master's theses are stored at Learning Centre in Otaniemi.