You are here
Employer branding - what Thai professionals care about
The face of recruiting has been changed over the past 25 years by one major thing: the Internet. In the past, job seekers would look for an opening in local newspapers or other offline sources. Today, they go online to job boards like JobsDB, LinkedIn and Monster, where they can easily apply in just one click.
This also means applying for a job is much easier and faster than what it used be. Job seekers can do research on potential employers, comparing and choosing the companies of their choice. Such trends have challenged employers to be more active in the way they recruit, and this is the moment where the importance of employer branding comes into play.
Thailand, as well as other Asia Pacific countries, is a candidate short market with very low unemployment rate of only 1%. Essentially, there is an imbalance between new opening positions and skills that employers are seeking. In this market, professionals with a particular skill set have the power – and get to choose which company to work for - and which ones to walk away from.
How employer branding can help
External employer branding will help recruiting functions of an organisation to attract more talent to work with them. But what do Thai job seekers really care about when it comes to choosing the next employer?
A 2016 survey by one of South East Asia’s biggest career sites, JobsDB, on 10 aspiring companies in Thailand reveals some of the most important elements taken into account when candidates make that crucial decision. They include:
- How stable is the company?
- What benefits am I getting?
- Is it a big name company?
- Is the salary competitive enough?
- What are career development options?
Employers in Thailand will strive to offer, actually “sell”, some of these elements to their selected candidates. Those who are amongst top list are companies like PTT, SCG, Toyota, Chevron or Nestlé. What if your company was an unknown, newly set up B2B brand with no promised bonuses and limited financial resources? Then it is best to only focus on one element that you can offer. You could offer a good training program which costs less and select people whose motivation is learn and develop skills rather than making money.
Challenges in retaining professionals
It is not a simple process but not entirely impossible. However, once you make it past the initial phase of acquiring talents, the hard part comes in – how to retain them. In my experience as a recruiter, most professionals are open to new opportunities at any time. Eight out of ten Thai professionals who at one point are content to stay where they are, become open to hear about opportunities a few months later. This is for a variety of reasons. I have heard people saying “there is a gap between job description and actual responsibilities”, “It’s too far from my house. I thought I could handle it but travelling such distance every day is just too exhausting” or “The culture does not fit me”, among others.
Even more challenging, 32% of work force in Thailand is the so called Millenial. This part of the population continues to grow and will make half of the work force by 2030. From a working perspective, Millennials have a reputation of being less likely to stay in a job and of getting bored easily. Their longevity in a company could last from 3-4 months to 2-3 years.
This is not something an employer can escape. They can try selecting candidates with better longevity but the world is not a bed of roses, so employers should adapt to this change by doing their best to promote their employer branding to make sure they offer the best even after a person is accepted into a position.
At this stage, internal employer branding could be a solution for every employer to attract internal pool and make them stay longer. Internal employer branding will create a sense of engagement amongst employees.
L’Oreal as an example
One case study I would like to raise here is at L’Oreal. There has been a significant decrease in employee resignation because L’Oreal has adapted their strategies to make employees feel more engaged. They have a “Worldwide Profit Sharing Program” to reward all employees when the company makes profit or “Employee Share Ownership Program” for an employee to buy its stocks at a lower price.
Apart from these benefits, employees can work from home and are eligible to participate in skills development programs through online channels or smartphones. This makes the company stand out from their competitors and their people can proudly say “I’m working with one of the best companies”. This is an example of a company that has successfully promoted their brand internally and achieved their retention targets.
Finding and keeping the best
To sum up, an absolute recipe to obtaining and retaining talents does not exist. Especially in a candidate short market like Thailand, the challenge is even bigger and more effort is needed. Be creative, people-focused and flexible to combine external and internal employer branding together to create a successful recruitment and retention solution.