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EURES (EURopean Employment Services)
News article30 May 2018European Labour Authority, Directorate-General for Employment, Social Affairs and Inclusion2 min read

What makes a “good employer”?

Plenty of surveys will tell you who the biggest companies are, or who has the most employees. But for jobseekers, size isn’t everything. The “best” employers are those who give employees what they want.

What makes a “good employer”?

Most employers would love to find out that they are appealing to potential employees, but what is it about an employer that motivates an individual’s job choice? What is it that makes an employer attractive?

In 2015, Cedefop – the European Centre for the Development of Vocational Training – published its European skills and jobs (ESJ) survey. As part of the survey, which focused on the problem of skill mismatch, Cedefop asked 49,000 EU adult workers from all 28 Member States what influenced their decision to accept their current job.

Results revealed that employees didn’t, in fact, prioritise finding a job that matched their skill set. Instead, the most important motivators included finding the nature of the work interesting and satisfying, closely followed by job security and a good work-life balance.

Clearly, employers would do well to try and reflect this. It’s important that companies don’t just advertise job roles, but communicate to applicants how you understand the importance of these motivators, and how you can provide them.

Employer branding specialist Universum has tried to answer the question of “attractiveness” in its annual Talent Survey, which this year surveyed 198,500 business and engineering/IT students from Europe’s 12 largest economies.

Perhaps unsurprisingly, Google – famous worldwide for a workplace culture that encourages creativity and includes many “perks” – was at the top of the Universum list of favourite employers for both business and engineering/IT students. The only other company to appear in both lists was another technology giant, Microsoft, which came in at number two for engineering/IT students and number three for business students.

These two companies also top the Forbes Global 2000 list this year (which ranks companies based on sales, profit, assets and market value), so perhaps size is important for some. But apart from the allure of adding a big brand name to your CV, why are students drawn to these employers?

Universum’s survey found that business students look for the potential of high future earnings, professional training and development, and good references for the future. IT and Engineering students prioritise innovation, but also look for professional training and development, high future earnings – and a creative and dynamic work environment, which Google evidently provides.

So, what do the results of these two studies show us? Firstly, it’s evident that there were differences between the current workers surveyed by Cedefop and the students questioned in Universum’s survey. Alongside this, Universum’s results show that some students prioritise different things in their career to others, depending on the sector in which they are aiming to work.

With this in mind, it’s clear that every employer has to tailor and adapt their employer branding, depending on the profiles of the employees they’re looking for. Employers don’t have to be Google to attract talented, competent workers, but they do have to think about how to position themselves and stand out – by creating the right working environment and a positive workplace culture, and committing to the training and development of all employees.


Related links:

Cedefop European skills and jobs (ESJ) survey

Universum Talent Survey


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