With an upsurge in interest in the idea of ‘employer branding’, more employers are giving thought to ensuring a positive candidate experience and the kind of company material and communications received by individuals as part of the recruitment process. Particularly now many organisations and businesses are concerned about skills shortages, exacerbated by the drift overseas of talented young people in search of better opportunities and more money, make it timely to look at how to become an 'employer of choice' in order to recruit and keep the staff you need.
According to conventional recruiting wisdom, it is the employer who chooses the employee. In times of labour market surplus, this is certainly the case. Increasingly these days, however, employers are finding the paradigm turned on its head. Shortages of people with specifically needed skills, together with the changing attitudes of employees, mean that many organisations find themselves fighting hard to attract and retain staff in a competitive recruitment environment.
Many employees, particularly those with marketable skills, are starting to become more 'choosey' about who they work for. Staff benefits that were once regarded as prequisites have come to be regarded as pre-requisites. The notion of loyalty to an employer has also undergone radical change, the average 32-year-old in the US has reportedly changed jobs nine times. An Australian PricewaterhouseCoopers estimate suggests that 20-30 percent of the elite skilled workforce change jobs every year. In support of these sorts of figures, a survey of 500 executives by Drake Executive in Australia last year found that 76 percent of respondents had problems with high staff turnover.
So what are companies doing to meet the new challenge and avoid the high costs of staff loss or being unable to fill key positions? The term ‘employer of choice’ is becoming a common expression synonymous with innovative approaches to successful recruitment and staff management. It is part of the phenomenon of the so-called ‘branded employer’. As the balance of power between employer and employee shifts, organisations are starting to market themselves actively to potential recruits as a desirable place to work.