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Brand attraction

How can organisations develop strong employer branding to drive candidate attraction? Sam Smith, EMEA President, Magnit has the answers

ONS data shows that the number of vacancies in the UK is falling steadily, after a significant boom in Q3 of 2021. This is likely to be linked to the current recession, which could last for up to a year, according to the Confederation of British Industry. As the appetite for bringing new hires on board declines, organisations are likely to leverage their existing workforce to fill any potential gaps. For many, this could prove difficult, as 61 per cent of organisations are currently experiencing a skills shortage – but there is a solution.

The result is a fierce battle for talent, whereby organisations are competing to acquire highly skilled candidates at a competitive price, filling skills gaps whilst avoiding costly and time-consuming hiring processes. Businesses need to use every tool at their disposal to attract and retain talent, including developing their employer brand.


Those with recruitment responsibilities face a tough challenge right now. In the midst of a difficult financial landscape, businesses are likely to be dialling back budgets in all areas, whilst endeavouring to stay afloat. In order to achieve the latter, organisations require strong talent with the right skills, but we know that this simply isn’t a possibility for many, due to the impact of entrenched skills gaps. Recruiters find themselves in a quandary: being required to attract and retain great people, but with a limited budget to do so.

This is why having a robust employer brand is crucial. A strong employer brand could provide a competitive edge when attracting candidates, or even be the difference between a candidate accepting and declining an employment offer. According to LinkedIn data, 75 per cent of people would not accept a job offer from a company with a bad reputation – what’s on the outside certainly counts when it comes to candidate attraction.


It’s clear that having an excellent employer brand is vital to securing top talent, but how can organisations build that all-important reputation? Increasingly this involves businesses having to offer something unique to beat out the competition. This is especially true when considering that the expectations of jobseekers could be increasing: data from Gartner suggests that since 2020 65 per cent of people have reassessed the role that work has in their life. Gone are the days of attracting candidates with a competitive salary and benefits alone – people are seeking a company that is socially impactful and offers a competitive employee value proposition.

Today’s workforce has different expectations than employees may once have had, valuing qualities such as providing supportive work environments, and attractive benefits. On a practical basis, this could include offering hybrid working as standard, encouraging work-life balance, providing access to professional development opportunities and committing to ethical practices. For example, a recent survey from Magnit found that businesses that fail to offer remote or hybrid working models can expect to lose out on 68 per cent of candidates. Not only do organisations have to do the work to ensure that their employee value proposition is strong, but equally should put this work at the heart of their employer brand.


Once HR departments have designed an effective value proposition which is adapted to the needs of today’s workforce, recruitment teams can leverage this externally for the organisation’s employee brand. When it comes to flexibility and work life balance, recruiters should ensure that these form part of all job applications and conversations with prospective candidates. Regarding the business’ social responsibility, this should form part of the business’ external communications on a regular basis, whether this be through social media or other marketing disciplines. Consequently, the employer brand speaks to what prospective candidates are looking for, which should support businesses in securing top talent.

Organisations that regularly leverage contingent, or temporary workers, should also consider how their employer brand is adapted to include this workforce’s specific requirements. To create an effective employer brand for the contingent workforce, organisations can consider going above and beyond existing efforts for their permanent workforce. After all, contingent workers can have more employment options than their permanent counterparts, meaning that they often have more power to choose the companies they work for. Organisations need to demonstrate that they’re reliable, stable and can provide an excellent worker experience for contingent workers. This can include widening access to company benefits to include contingent workers or giving options for rapid or on-demand pay.

When companies implement an employer branding strategy that encompasses all types of workers, whether permanent or contingent, it becomes much easier to attract and retain candidates. This is especially relevant as the labour market becomes increasingly competitive and the economy tightens, as businesses need strong talent to grow. When candidate and employee quality is increased, through excellent employer branding, businesses can ride the waves of change with a solid workforce to drive operational success.

About Sarah OBeirne

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