For the 2023 edition of the Employer Branding Now research, Universum has conducted a survey among over 1,700 talent leaders. The research is focused on how companies compete in a world of talent shortages and the specific strategies used by the world’s most attractive employers. This year, they’ve identified 6 biggest trends among those surveyed.
1. Talent shortages reach 17-year high
Despite the global economic slowdown, talent shortages have reached a 17-year high. Nearly 4 in 5 employers globally report difficulty the talent they need in 2023, strengthening +2 percentage points year-over-year and more than double the difficulty in 2010 (31%).
Surprisingly, 80% of students surveyed express confidence in securing a job this year. In STEM fields, layoffs among Big Tech brands have been offset by hiring in traditional industries, which usually struggle to attract top tech talent. This paradox highlights the urgency for organisations to optimise their recruitment strategies and employer branding efforts to stand out in a competitive market.
2. Some holding back, some are labour hoarding
Many companies are taking a cautious approach during the economic downturn by avoiding employee layoffs. This “labour hoarding” strategy stems from the fear that the economy may quickly rebound, and competitors might poach valuable talent. Companies are holding on to their critical talent groups for as long as possible to prevent a talent shortage and a scramble to rehire when the market bounces back.
3. Total reward offers being reassessed
The past few years have seen companies offering equity as part of their compensation package to attract top talent, especially when stock prices were rapidly rising. However, with stock prices now slowing down and even dropping, employers need to reassess their total reward offers. As the economic landscape changes, they must consider how market fluctuations impact their ability to attract and retain top talent.
4. More upskilling and reskilling on the horizon
To address talent shortages, organisations are exploring innovative tactics to keep their talent pipelines full. Initiatives like upskilling employees, recruiting “new collar” workers, and leveraging automation and AI to fill skill gaps are gaining prominence. By diversifying their talent acquisition strategies, companies can create more resilient and agile workforces.
5. Employer branding now a critical focus
Employer branding has emerged as a critical focus for talent leaders in 2023. The Universum Employer Branding NOW research reveals that 78% of companies consider employer branding a top priority. To stand out amidst talent disruption, companies must emphasize differentiation in their employer branding efforts. This involves reevaluating messaging related to diversity, equity, and inclusion (DE&I) and flexible working, which have become expectations in the modern workforce.
“The best companies understand that employer branding is an investment in their talent pipeline — not just for open positions this year, but to develop relationships for roles that need to be filled in one to three years.”
“Company leaders know that their ability to deliver growth and innovation rests on the strength of their talent pipeline and talent management”, said Yusuf Azoz, CEO of Universum. “And the best companies understand that employer branding is an investment in their talent pipeline — not just for open positions this year, but to develop relationships for roles that need to be filled in one to three years.”
6. Data-driven decision-making as the new norm
Data-driven decision making has become a standard practice among talent leaders. A remarkable 88% of companies in the Universum research “frequently” or “always” use data to drive their recruitment strategies. “Over the last 5+ years, we have observed a significant shift in companies’ use of data to drive decision making in recruiting and talent management. In 2023, 40% say they “always” make data-driven decisions — a more than twofold increase in four years.”
Data-driven employer brands are early adopters of generative AI applications, leveraging new technologies for workflow automation, candidate sourcing, employee engagement, and more.
Metrics dashboards are increasingly employed to monitor the recruitment funnel, from brand awareness to candidate conversion and employee engagement and retention. Additionally, data-driven employer brands are early adopters of generative AI applications, leveraging new technologies for workflow automation, candidate sourcing, employee engagement, and more.