Employer branding: analyze attractiveness using scientific data

Most companies have recognized that market-driven compensation is not enough to attract talent. But which are the decisive factors when it comes to choosing a job? What makes companies attractive? This article explains what the essential criteria for effective employer branding are, how to determine pivotal factors based on region, industry, and company, and what actionable recommendations can be implemented.

Applications are receding, positions remain vacant, and employees increasingly expect more from employers. The labor market is witnessing a “race for talent.” HR managers across all industries are finding that more and more companies are competing for fewer qualified specialists. The explanation: demand from companies exceeds the supply of skilled workers on the job market while megatrends such as demographic change, digital transformation, and shifting societal values are increasingly intensifying the issue. WifOR’s employer branding analyses support HR managers in developing measures to attract talented applicants and retain employees over the long term.

Aims of employer branding analysis:

  • Identify the criteria that are decisive from the point of view of (potential) employees for them to consider a company or an industry as attractive.
  • Derive actionable recommendations which target improving attractiveness based on scientific data.
  • Support companies and industries to attract talented workers, sustainably motivate them and retain employees over the long term.

Employer branding: Definition

What is employer branding? Individual organizations or industries brand themselves so that they are considered attractive and are able to retain and motivate employees over the long term. However, people judge the decisive criteria of an attractive employer subjectively and these criteria can differ according to a range of factors including region, industry, specialty, and generation.

Which factors are particularly important for employees?

A key challenge for HR managers is to identify the decisive criteria and from these criteria derive measures for their own organization. But one thing is for certain: approaches to tapping into potential for attractiveness must be individual to the organization. Scientific labor market data helps to critically review the status quo, compare it with relevant players in the industry, and derive evidence-based strategies for improving employer branding.

What methodology is used to analyze attractiveness?

The decisive factors of a company's attractiveness can be determined using artificial intelligence. In the first step, WifOR uses web scrapings to extract large amounts of data from job and review portals. This data is then analyzed algorithmically as well as by labor market experts to identify which criteria, from a wide variety of evaluations, are the most important and how the critically evaluated categories can be improved from the employee's point of view.

Case study: the healthcare landscape in Bavaria

WifOR applied this approach, for example, in the study "The Future of Care in Bavaria - A Big Data Analysis of Challenges and Opportunities" (2020) (DE) for the Bavarian Industry Association (vbw). This integrated analysis included all the companies listed on the platform in the health and care sector in Bavaria.

Breakdown of recommendations for the care industry in Bavaria

The results show that the most significant difference between the health and care sector and other industries in the Bavarian economy lies in the category of appreciation. A similarly large difference is also found in the personnel category. Aspects relating to employee staffing are raised significantly more frequently in the nursing sector than in comparison with other sectors. Considerations such as working atmosphere and responsibility are also comparatively more important to nursing staff. Other categories meanwhile are more present in the wider economy. On average, for example, employees in the care sector demand higher pay less frequently than the Bavarian economy as a whole. The biggest difference in absolute terms relates to the category of investments. Although employees in the care sector name improvements in infrastructure and equipment fourth most frequently, the value placed on these forms of improvement is in fact more than five percentage points below that of the wider economy.

In a nutshell

Employer branding is a crucial competitive factor, especially in light of the intensifying shortage of skilled workers. Scientifically analyzing attractiveness provides companies with concrete indications of the measures they can take to improve their positioning. The analysis enables decision-makers to make informed decisions which target improving attractiveness for (potential) employees.