Attracting top talent


Top brands globally understand and leverage the critical importance of attracting top talent to their workforces.  According to the 2015 PwC 18th Annual Global CEO Survey, 73% of CEOs say they worry about finding the right people to realize their business goals, up from 63% last year.

Without the best talent, businesses simply cannot compete in these tough economic times – however, attracting this top talent takes planning, strategic thinking – and the understanding of the wants and needs of the top talent pool – both for today and tomorrow.

Universum Global is well known and respected as the international leader in employer branding and related research, however many South African businesses, including some top corporates still do not understand the critical necessity of including employer branding within their overall marketing budgets.

As Universum gears up to announce South Africa’s 2015 Most Attractive Employers, it is important to announce why certain companies are able to attract top talent over their competition.

What talent wants: today and tomorrow

The latest insights from Universum’s research reveals major changes in the attitudes of today’s professionals, and also indicates even bigger changes on the horizon for the next generation of talent: Generation Z.

Based on this research, Universum has learned that the current generation of so-called Millennial’s greatest fear is to be stuck without opportunities for professional growth and development. Professional services firms that understand this, such as PwC and EY, continue to pull the highest rankings in this respect and other industries should benchmark how this sector nurtures employees through training and mentoring.

South African students also identify professional training and development as an important attribute in an employer’s attraction, as Kelebogile Motsa, Project Manager of Partner Relations and Data Collection at Universum South Africa explains, “students are usually worried about securing a job after graduating and having the right skills and training the job requires from them. Therefore, employers that offer professional training and development, as well as security usually have a higher level of attraction for South African students. This is why you would also see government appearing a lot more in the Most Attractive Employer lists in South Africa.”

However, in just three years, the first wave of Generation Z will enter the workforce and as Jenali Skuse, Employer Branding Consultant at Universum explains, now is the time to start understanding and adapting to future of work; “When Millennials joined the workforce they had a great impact on the world of work, but many companies struggled to adapt to their expectations quickly becoming irrelevant. Gen Z too have a different set of expectations and values and their impact is soon to be felt.”

Among Gen Z’s top fears are not being able to find the right job, and also being saddled with student debt, and amidst the current turmoil in South Africa over university fees, this is one of the most important findings of the research.

Generation Z’s attitude toward tertiary study also differs markedly from the generation’s that precede it with 47% of respondents considering entering the workforce before getting a tertiary degree and 60% saying they welcome information about how companies offer education to those with no university degree.

It is clear that attracting the best talent of Gen Z will take new and innovative approaches. Not only must organizations think carefully about whether it’s feasible and appropriate to offer apprenticeships to promising students who may not be ready to invest time or money in a university degree, but also how to communicate with these potential employees when traditional recruitment methods may not be available.

Companies that understand and respond to these trends via consistent and relevant employer branding will be the companies that attract the best talent and remain competitive within the global and local environments.

Next month Universum will announce the results of its annual South African research that reaches 44,640 students at 25 tertiary institutions and 21,374 professionals across the country, Universum analyses and compiles this data to rank employers by their attractiveness and issues its annual Most Attractive Employer Rankings. In addition to enabling the rankings however, this in-depth qualitative and quantitative research also enables Universum to predict and evaluate trends in the recruitment and employment sectors.

Lara Preston

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This edition

Issue 58