Finding and Keeping Tomorrows Talent - Universum Feature

1 February 2016

Emma Rydell

The time when employees dedicated their whole lives to working for the same company is well and truly over. Today the average length of employment is 4 years, according to LinkedIn data from 2014. The same research suggests that 51% of all workers who currently have a job are either actively seeking, or open to a new job, which explain the one trillion annual employment related searches on Google.

At the same time, studies reveal that the incoming generations on the labour market are even keener on changing workplace more frequently and also demand other things from their employers. Hence, effective management of your hiring ROI and employer brand can be considered key for organisations of today.

Many would agree that the platforms available to communicate your company brand are not only increasing in numbers, but also in importance. The digital world and the various social media channels have opened up for opportunities to work with employer branding in new ways. But with this, the challenge of successfully playing your cards right is also augmented. A study made by Universum, a global company and leader in employer branding analytics and communication strategies, reveals that generation Z, born 1997 and later, have an attention span as short as eight seconds and that they are constantly plugged into five different devices. This might not sound too surprising considering that this generation were born with digitalisation constantly evolving around them. However, naturally this also has an impact on how companies will have to work with employer branding in the near future.

Sighsten Dahl, Employer Branding Specialist at Universum, explains that what top performing employers have in common is that they have a strong EVP, Employer Value Proposition, and tend to have employees ready to recommend their workplace to friends and family.

“This is a kind of tipping point, you may think your company is a good place to work at and you may think they are cool but this doesn’t necessarily mean that you would recommend this workplace to your friends. But the survey shows that this is exactly what the employees at these companies do, they WOULD recommend their workplace to others”, Dahl tells the LINK.

This annual survey is based on the opinion of around 35,000 young professionals, with between one and eight years’ work experience. In the 2015 Survey, 126 employers were featured and The LINK is happy to see many SCC Members, such as Löfbergs, H&M, Alfa Laval and IKEA in the top 15.


Looking at the values that the younger generations deem important, purpose seems highly valued. Dahl further explains:

“As society has changed, the needs among employees have also changed and the demographic challenges in our society today are different. This in turn, have led to that we now are more purpose driven as a natural consequence. Hence, it is a part of the evolution in the society”

For some companies this trend is easier to adapt to than others. Dahl explains that consulting companies, naturally do not have as straightforward a purpose as organisations like the Swedish International Development Cooperation Agency (SIDA) or the Swedish Migration Agency. For the two latter, however, the company description and purpose is extremely clear.

In order to make an unclear purpose clearer, it would be necessary to return to data and for business leaders to make sure that THEY understand the culture of their companies and why their employees are there, according to Dahl.

“You can’t make anything up, you have to accept that your purpose isn’t as clear cut but it is important for everyone to know why they do what they do, apart from making money”, Dahl continues.

However, he also thinks that the purpose naturally has to be connected with the overall strategy and vision of the company. Hard internal work with all stakeholders is hence required.

According to Dahl, one of the most interesting things with development is that it is going very fast. Comparing the generations born in the 20s 30s and 40s with the ones born in the 60s, 70s, 80s, the development is not as swift in that shift as it has been lately, where a lot of things seem to have happened in only 10 years’ time. This, of course, will have consequences.

 “To think that any company’s recruitment strategies and talent management would not have to evolve/develop as fast as everything else in the society is extremely naive”, Dahl states.

There has been a lot of talk lately of the disappearance of jobs and the continued automatization of society. The Swedish Digitalisation Commission issued a report in December last year, claiming that 40 % of the jobs today will be replaced with automatization and robots by 2030.

Dahl agrees that administration jobs are likely to disappear in many settings and that digitalisation will be the main focus. People entering the labour market in 10 years time will therefore have to be much more specialised than today.

“The level of competence of a graduate in 10 years time will probably be on par with someone who has had five years work experience after his/her degree today,” Dahl continues.

Analysts at Universum expect that the organisations of the future will seize to be structured into departments. Instead they predict activity- and project based offices, without the static office space layout that we are used to today.

“People will work much more in networks. You might be a specialist within your field, but you do not work for a specific department. Just because an employee is specialised in marketing does not mean they have to be part of a marketing department, instead they will be working much more in cross-functional roles“, says Dahl.

“We also believe that hierarchies will disappear. An employee might receive a title describing what it is they do, but the status of that title will decrease. The onus will be on the area of competence and skills rather than the title.”

According to Dahl, the future of recruitment is so called referred recruitment. Organisations that have strong ambassadors internally, will have easier recruitment procedures due to referred recruitment, as employees are likely to recommend the work place to others. This in turn can also lead to more effective retention.

The survey would seem to support this as it suggested that while 31 % of the total participants wanted to change jobs within the upcoming year, this number shrank to only 9% among those employed by the companies at the top of the list. The number was also drastically higher among the lowest ranked employers, where 47% of the employees were considering changing workplace.

Qualities of Top Employers:
• High level of responsibilities
• Market success
• Good reference to future career
• Respect for their people
• A friendly work environment


Companies who put effort into creating a strong EVP, adapting to the needs of their employees, will benefit. In order to attract young talents, companies are recommended to connect its employer brand to purpose-driven values and increase the possibility for their employees to do good, for example through sustainability initiatives.


SCC Members in the top 10:



Why do you think you made the top 15?
“We have succeeded in building a culture where the co-workers are happy and feel appreciated. To a great extent, it is about us having common basic values that describe how we act towards each other and the world around us.”

Have you done anything specific to achieve this?
“Our strategy has basically been a strong focus on current employees, through for example programs and educations for talents and managers. It has contributed to satisfied and motivated co-workers who are important ambassadors when recruiting new talents.”



Why do you think you made the top 15?
“We think we have achieved such high ranking because we give straightforward, down to earth people a chance to grow, both as individuals and in their professional roles. We always recruit based on values to find engaged, diverse and straightforward people with the willingness to learn. This is more important than formal education and previous work experience. We believe that this is what makes us unique.”

Have you done anything specific to achieve this?
“We have not done anything specifically different this year, however we believe this award is the result of our long-term commitment to make IKEA a great place to work.”

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