78% say employer branding is a critical strategy to remain competitive in an economic slowdown


STOCKHOLM, SWEDEN, June 30th, 2023 – Universum’s Employer Branding NOW 2023 study, conducted during the first quarter of this year, shows students and working professionals are confident about the hiring market – this despite slowdowns in certain industries and regions. Eight in 10 students say they are confident about securing a job in the coming year, and nearly 9 in 10 professionals say they are confident about getting a new job in the event of a layoff.  

“Notwithstanding a flurry of news about layoffs and economic contraction, most companies are still struggling with a talent shortfall, and the problem isn’t going to improve anytime soon,” explains Yusuf Azoz, CEO of Universum. 

Universum, the global leader in employer branding, surveyed over 1,700 talent leaders from 75 countries between February 15 and March 31, 2023. The research looks at a wide range of issues including employer branding, recruitment marketing budgets, data-driven decision-making, and employee engagement. The survey also collects insights from the World’s Most Attractive Employers (WMAEs), a cohort of the top global employers as identified by job seekers around the world.  

Other notable findings from the 2023 research:  

Differentiation is a key mandate in 2023. Given the competition for top talent, employer branding professionals are focused on standing out from competitors; 60% of the WMAE say differentiating their employer brands and EVPs from competitors will be a key objective in the coming year.  

Many employer brands are revising their EVP. Employee well-being and flexible working conditions — areas of focus during the pandemic years — are now emphasized in fewer than one in three EVPs. The reason: these have become baseline expectations, not “perks” provided by an employer.  

Employer branding is even more critical in 2023. Among the WMAE, 78% say employer branding is a top priority — up 11 points in two years. Even for small- and medium-sized employers, the majority say employer branding is a critical area of HR investment.  

Recruitment marketing budgets remain high. Nearly half (48%) of the WMAE report their budget has increased since 2022 – a notable finding given hiring slowdowns.  

Data-driven decision making is now the norm. In 2023, 88% of companies in the World’s Most Attractive Employers say they “frequently” or “always” use data to drive decisions, with an increasing use of dashboards to monitor the recruitment funnel from brand awareness and candidate conversion, to employee engagement and retention. 

“Data-driven insights are absolutely critical when talent markets are in flux, as they are now,” says Richard Mosley, Universum Global Client Director. “We also expect data-driven employer brands will be early adopters of generative AI — using new technologies for workflow automation, candidate sourcing, employee engagement and much more.” 

To download a copy of the full Employer Branding NOW report, which includes additional research on topics such as rethinking EVPs for the post-pandemic workforce, using innovations such as robotics and generative AI to reduce the talent gap, and making career mobility part of the employee experience, visit this link.  

About Universum 

Universum is a data-driven, insight-led employer branding agency. Founded in Stockholm, we are now active in over 60 countries, with key hubs in Paris, Berlin, London, New York, Singapore and Shanghai. We provide our clients with the research, strategy and creative solutions they need to compete more effectively for talent. 

Media Contacts: 

Jonas Barck

Chief Marketing Officer, Universum


+46 706 933 388


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