Germans want a pet in the office; Belgians a teleworking allowance

If you want to recruit across the border, then knowing the drivers (pull factors) is important. For example, Germans are more sensitive to taking their pet to the office and being unreachable outside working hours; Belgians would rather be paid for working from home.

Geert-Jan Waasdorp on April 12, 2024 Average reading time: 4 min
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Germans want a pet in the office; Belgians a teleworking allowance

Pull factors, motives that move and drive people on the labor market, and critical recruitment factors are the key to successful labor market communication, recruitment marketing, and employer branding. If not the most important. Naming 4 (or more) relevant pull factors and employment conditions for the intended target group increases the conversion by an average of 3.5 times. This applies from programmatic advertising, and EVPs to the LinkedIn Inmails sent to hunt talent.

Naming relevant pull factors increases conversion by an average of 3.5 times.

Fortunately for data supplies like Intelligence Group, neither ChatGPT nor any other A.I. system has all this kind of detailed target group knowledge. But it will only be a matter of time – I expect at the earliest in 2026 – that also ChatGPT (OpenAI), Gemini, Claude, or another A.I. will be able to unravel these secrets, whether trained by our data or not.

The secrets of drivers

Drivers of target groups have many secrets. For example, these vary strongly based on experience level. A junior engineer moves for different reasons in the labor market than an experienced engineer. Gender, age, and education level also play a role in what motivates someone in the labor market. Hence the lists of differences between men and women always appeal so much! Generally speaking, men go more for financial and material things, while women – generally speaking – go for more work/life balance and social matters.

A Romanian developer moves more or less for the same reasons as a Belgian one.

Knowing these kinds of drivers at this level certainly ensures conversion on job vacancies. Especially if you can visualize this with images and a translation to your EVP. What many people do not know is that the differences in pull factors are indeed large between target groups, but just small between regions in a country and between countries. A software developer in Romania moves more or less for the same reasons as a software developer in Belgium (i.e., salary, permanent contract, working from home). Only the context in which they move is different, such as the average salary, the number of working hours, vacation days, and unique national laws.

The magic of moving

The image of small differences between countries is also reflected when we zoom in on which factors ‘extra’ motivate people in the labor market.

In all countries and all target groups, paid overtime is the additional number 1 pull factor.

When you compare the individual countries with each other, you do indeed see differences in percentages, but hardly any deviations when it comes to prioritization of extra (pull) factors. Take, for example, paid overtime. In all countries and all target groups, it is number 1, although the Germans really value this much more than the Belgians and the Dutch. From this, you can conclude that in terms of prioritization, these extra (pull) factors in the 3 countries look alike. The fun – and that’s where the magic to get people moving comes in – of course lies in the differences.

Dutch want a coach

For example, Germans clearly value ‘paid overtime,’ ‘unreachability outside working hours,’ and ‘taking a pet to the office’ more. It is also interesting what appeals to them relatively less, such as the ‘teleworking allowance,’ and ‘personal coaching.’ For that personal coaching, we especially need to look at the Dutch, who also score highest on ‘attention to mental health.’ So, all that coaching and soul-searching might be more of a Dutch phenomenon after all?

Belgians go a bit more for the homeworking allowance and score slightly higher at the bottom of the table (on the least appealing factors). Overall, you can mainly say that the overall picture of the working population in all three countries mainly corresponds, certainly in prioritization. The differences, the nuances, are the story to get people moving. The fact that you are reading this is perhaps the most important proof of that…

Recruiters live longer

Whether recruiters actually live longer than average? No data is available on that. Nor whether recruiters have more sex than average or what preference for pets they have. It is true that if you want to stand out to a target group, you need to put the profession in a relevant and stimulating context. That stimulation is always to be found in unique and distinguishing behavior, for example, when it comes to apps, hobbies, or other preferences.


It’s the same with motives for movement. It’s not so much about people getting a permanent contract, a pension scheme, interesting content of the work, or travel expenses. Those are mostly hygiene factors. It’s about highlighting unique and distinguishing motives for movement. So: where the target group deviates from the norm. In the above picture, those are the gray bars. Those are the factors that get your target group moving. If you, as an employer also make those exceptionally true (such as ‘we pay your overtime the same day’), then you have a Critical Recruitment Factor and a ‘hit’ with the target group. I, myself notice that after all these years of working with pull factors, I can still be pleasantly surprised by the variations and their effectiveness. I wish that for every recruitment marketer, and recruiter. In other words: I wish you many pull factors!

Curious about the drivers of your target group? Join the European Talent Intelligence Week and ask any Talent Intelligence question, including about drivers, for any target group in Europe.



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Geert-Jan Waasdorp

Geert-Jan Waasdorp

Entrepreneur and Investor at Intelligence Group, Academie voor Arbeidsmarktcommunicatie, Werf&, Arbeidsmarktkansen, Recruitment Accelerator en
Geert-Jan Waasdorp has been active in the world of job market communication and recruitment since 1999. He started his journey as an analyst, and grow into an entrepreneur, business owner, investor and innovator. Waasdorp is a guest speaker, blogger and author of several books on recruitment and employer branding.
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