Employer Attractiveness

Employer Attractiveness: Definition, Factors & Measures

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? This article explains the essential criteria for establishing employee priorities and positioning companies as attractive employers.

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 reason for this? 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 analyzes employer attractiveness using scientific data to support HR managers in developing measures which draw talented applicants and retain employees over the long term. 

Definition: Employer attractiveness

Organizations and industries position themselves to be considered attractive in order to retain, and motivate, employees over the long term. However, people judge the decisive criteria of an attractive employer subjectively. These criteria can differ according to a range of factors including region, industry, profession, and generation. The following list shows which aspects are frequently important to employees when it comes to rating an employer’s attractiveness.

WifOR analyzes employer attractiveness using scientific data to support HR managers in developing measures which draw talented applicants and retain employees over the long term. The results make it possible, on the one hand, to promote employee satisfaction in a targeted manner and, on the other hand, to build a strong employer brand.

Aims for analyzing attractiveness:

  • 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.

Which factors make employers attractive?

Attractiveness factors are criteria of an organization that are decisive for (potential) employees as to whether they would like to work for a company. They are characteristics that arouse the interest of applicants and ensure satisfaction among employees. These factors can vary depending on individual preferences and needs.

According to Herzberg’s two-factor theory, a distinction can be made between hygiene and motivation factors. While hygiene factors (e.g. salary or job security) determine whether employees are dissatisfied, motivational factors (e.g. tasks, development opportunities) determine employee commitment.

Checklist: Becoming an attractive employer

The following checklist shows which attractiveness factors exist in addition to monetary incentives.

Checkliste Arbeitgeberattraktivität

A key challenge for companies is to identify the decisive criteria from the various attractiveness factors and to justify their importance within the company. One thing is certain: it requires individual considerations for targeted strategies.

How can employer attractiveness be measured?

There are a variety of methods to measure the employer attractiveness of a company. Many companies start with employee surveys or evaluate direct conversations. With Big Data, AI-powered attractiveness analysis offers many advantages, for which both internal and external data can be applied. An overview.

Employee surveys

Employee surveys are a common tool for recording internal employer attractiveness. With the help of standardized questionnaires, companies can determine which attractiveness factors are particularly important to employees and how an employer performs in the individual categories. Online survey tools such as SurveyMonkey or specialized software (e.g. CompanyMood) can be used for this purpose.

Advantages of employee surveys

Employee surveys can be used to anonymously ascertain the status quo of employer attractiveness from the employees’ point of view. Another advantage is that it gives employees across the hierarchy the opportunity to put forward ideas and requests for improvement. The feeling of belonging in the company can also be promoted when employees realize that their feedback is heard and taken seriously.

Disadvantages of employee surveys

The disadvantage of this method is that companies sometimes have problems motivating their employees to participate alongside their day-to-day business. There is also a risk of generalizing subjective individual statements. It is therefore important to analyze and classify the survey results carefully. Participation should also be made as simple as possible and anonymity must be guaranteed in order to keep the hurdles as low as possible.

Personal conversations with employees

Conversations directly with employees are another way to find out what they value in their employer. Open conversations can help identify individual needs and expectations. They also allow direct interaction and provide space for an open exchange of ideas and concerns. The quality of the results depends primarily on how good the relationship of trust is between employees and management.

Advantages of personal meetings

One advantage of this method is that questions can be asked during personal interviews. This ideally enables a deeper understanding of employees’ needs. In addition, possible improvements or solutions can be discussed directly. Particularly in the case of employees who leave a company, the opportunity of a direct discussion should be used to find out the motives.

Disadvantages of personal meetings

One disadvantage, however, is that not all employees are willing or able to openly communicate their experiences due to the lack of anonymity. There is a possibility that some may withhold their opinions for fear of negative consequences. In addition, conducting such discussions is time-consuming and requires a basis of trust between employees and managers.

Big Data analytics with artificial intelligence

AI-supported attractiveness analysis is ideal for large volumes of data. Here, large volumes of data, which can come from both internal and external sources, are analyzed and evaluated with the help of algorithms.

Advantages of Big Data analytics with artificial intelligence

A major advantage of this method is the ability to quickly process extensive and complex amounts of data and identify patterns as well as correlations that are relevant for employer attractiveness. By analyzing data, such as on online rating portal Glassdoor, important insights can be gained. This enables data-driven decision-making and the development of targeted measures to improve employer attractiveness.

Disadvantages of Big Data analytics with artificial intelligence

It is important to note that some platforms do not want their publicly available data collected via web scraping. Privacy regulations for storing data should also be considered. Interpretation of analysis results also requires expertise and human judgment to draw meaningful conclusions.

Case study on the nursing care landscape in Bavaria

WifOR used this method of AI-supported attractiveness analysis, for example, in the study “Future of care in Bavaria – a Big Data analysis of challenges and opportunities” (2020) for the Bavarian Business Association (vbw). With the help of web scraping, WifOR extracted large amounts of data from job and evaluation portals in a first step.

This data was then analyzed using AI and contextualized by labor market experts, making it possible to identify which criteria are the most important from a large number of evaluations and how critically evaluated categories can be improved from the employees’ point of view. This analysis made it possible to include all companies in the health and care sector in Bavaria listed on the platform.

Recommendations for the care industry in Bavaria based on scientific data

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.

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. Read more in the study “The future of nursing care in Bavaria – a Big Data analysis of challenges and opportunities” (2020):

The Future of Care in Bayern (available only in German)

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The Future of Care in Bayern (available only in German)

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How can employers increase their attractiveness?

Due to limited resources, it is usually not possible for companies to fulfill all attractiveness factors. For this reason, measures to increase employer attractiveness should be specifically tailored to the requirements of (potential) employees.

Development of a targeted improvement strategy

The results of the attractiveness analysis provides companies with a weighting of the decisive factors from the perspective of (potential) employees. In the next step, concrete goals and time horizons should be defined in the course of the HR strategy. On this basis, companies can define targeted measures to meet the decisive attractiveness factors.

It is also important to establish clear responsibilities to ensure that the measures are implemented effectively. This may mean linking managers’ targets to the improvement measures. Regular performance reviews help to monitor progress and make adjustments where necessary.

Building the employer brand

The next step should be to highlight the key attractiveness factors in employer branding. Here, it is important that these set goals should first be achieved. Only if the internal perception is right can a strong employer brand be built up.

Internally, employees should be regularly informed about the measures taken and their effects. This creates transparency and enables progress to be better perceived. In external communication, the career site and the HR social media platforms LinkedIn and Xing are the central channels. Employers should show their face there and specifically address the attractiveness factors.

It is important to continuously maintain and develop the employer brand. Employers should regularly solicit feedback from employees and applicants to understand how the employer brand is perceived and make adjustments as necessary.

In a nutshell

Employer attractiveness is one of the key competitive factors for companies today. Market-driven compensation alone is not enough to attract and retain talent over the long term. It is important to meet the key attractiveness factors that really influence applicants in their choice of job.

Various methods are available to measure this. Employee surveys offer the opportunity to record employee feedback anonymously and in a structured manner. Face-to-face interviews enable an individual recording of needs and expectations. In the case of large data volumes, AI-supported attractiveness analyses can provide valuable insights by analyzing extensive data volumes and identifying patterns as well as correlations.

To increase attractiveness as an employer, it is important to develop a targeted improvement strategy. The identified attractiveness factors should serve as a basis for setting concrete targets and responsibilities. Regular performance reviews help to monitor progress and make adjustments as needed. It requires continuous further development to meet the changing needs of employees and to succeed as an attractive employer in a competitive environment.