Employer brand

Talent acquisition trends from across the globe

When you’re scouring the globe for the world’s best talent, you may be looking for similar combinations of skill sets and attributes that make up the perfect candidates for your company. However, it’s important to remember that every one of them is an individual and will very likely respond differently to your employer branding depending on where they are in the world.

In this article, we’ll be exploring the trends, challenges and opportunities for employer branding in six of the most prominent talent hotspots across the globe:

  • The U.S.
  • Australia
  • Europe
  • Canada
  • UAE
  • Hong Kong/Singapore

Why global brands need to be local

To reach the best candidates in your chosen pocket of the world, your employer brand marketing needs to adapt and change in accordance with the recruitment processes, cultures and priorities that are unique to specific locations. 

At the same time, your employer brand value proposition must shine through consistently. No matter where your employees are based, it’s crucial that they feel aligned with the core values and goals of your business as a whole.

An increasing number of companies are seeing the benefits of looking for the skills their businesses need in different countries. With the recent and widespread uptake in remote or hybrid working, candidates are able to expand their search for opportunities, with location less of a constraint.

Every culture has its own way of doing things and that extends into their recruitment and hiring practices. Without being tactful in your hiring approach, you run the risk of missing out on so much of the amazing talent the world has to offer. This may mean a complete change in approach, or simply dialing certain aspects of your company culture up or down to suit expectations in different countries. In all cases, thorough research into the local employer brand landscape is key.

Local employer brand insights

Below, we’ve compiled some of the location-specific trends, insights, cultural nuances and potential challenges that will come into play when localising your employer brand in six standout markets:

The U.S.

Top insights and trends

A millennial workforce
Across America, millennials make up 35% of the workforce at 56 million, with that number projected to grow rapidly over the next few years.

Candidates live online
Hiring is more online-dependent in The U.S. than in Europe. Candidates are social media savvy and are used to communicating with potential employers via LinkedIn which now has 194 million users in the country.

Cultural nuances
With individual ability and leadership skills playing a bigger factor for candidates, managing styles in America are one of its most notable differences from Europe, where emphasis is based on the performance of teams as a whole.

Potential challenges

Companies in the U.S. are under less pressure from governing bodies to provide benefits like fully paid parental leave (something that many employees in Europe have long been used to). In fact, The U.S. is the only advanced economy that does not have mandated paid leave for employees. This makes perks and benefits of greater value to potential candidates who will be looking more closely at what your company can offer aside from a salary.


Top insights and trends

A shortage of recruitment consultants
According to the Recruitment and Consulting Services Association of Australia and New Zealand (RCSA), recruitment consultants have become one of the country’s most difficult positions to fill.

Remote staffing was already well underway pre-pandemic
The recruitment industry has become used to using remote consultants from abroad to fill Australian positions and train Australian consultants.

Cultural nuances
Word of mouth can play a big role in recruitment in Australia with employee referrals one of the top sources of finding great talent.

Potential challenges

Work-life balance has long been one of the top priorities for employees across Australia. According to research by Randstad, the COVID-19 pandemic has reinforced this position with more focus on working for an employer that makes them feel valued. In their survey of more than 10,000 Australians, 76% said they want an employer who puts their health and safety first.

Making employees feel valued should be one of the key elements of any employer brand proposition, but in a post-pandemic world, candidates will expect to see tangible evidence of this from potential employers.


Top insights and trends

LinkedIn usage is widespread across The U.S. and Australia. While it continues to pick up momentum in Europe, many countries still favour platforms such as Xing (in Germany and Austria) and Viadeo (in France).

CV or résumé?
Made a little confusing by its French pronunciation, a ‘résumé‘ is something that candidates and recruiters will be more familiar with in America or Australia. The CV, meaning ‘curriculum vitae’, is the European equivalent. The documents are both very similar in style and purpose, with the key difference being that many countries in Europe expect an accompanying photo.

Perks and benefits
In most of Europe, candidates have come to expect a longer list of benefits such as; better-paid maternity/paternity leave, more paid time off, and better unemployment perks compared to the average American job seeker.

Cultural nuances 
Europe has a plethora of different cultures, languages and dialects to be found — especially when compared to Australia and the U.S. The starkest differences tend to be in the attitudes to work between North, South, East and West.

For example, almost 50% of people in southern European countries, such as Italy and Portugal, consider the loyalty of their colleagues more important than their personal goals. Whereas in Northern Europe, only 22% of people in Norway and just 16% in Lithuania feel this to be the case, stating personal goals to be of greater importance.

Attitudes to work differ between Western European countries including Austria and Germany where work-life balance is far more important compared to employees in eastern European countries such as Greece, Romania and Croatia.

Even so, European countries tend to work less hours than the U.S. on average. Although French employees generally end up going over their traditional 35 hour week, they are still well under the American average where, in many industries and regions, a 60 hour week has become the norm.

Further evidence of this can be found in the length of lunch breaks, the number of national holidays and working overtime. European countries including parts of Spain, France and Greece have become famous for their traditional extended lunches, which can be between 2 – 3 hours long. In comparison, the average worker in the U.S. takes just 36 minutes

Similarly, workers celebrate 13 public holidays in Austria, whereas Australians have only 7. As well as affecting the expectations of employers and employees, this makes keeping track of contactable times a challenge, even without the timezone.

Potential challenges

While states in the U.S. and Australia have their differences, potential candidates in these locations tend to be more closely linked. Covering more than 40 countries with different cultures, customs, laws and working practices, Europe is an incredibly diverse place to look for talent. This is undoubtedly a good thing for business, but it means that your employer brand needs to have the flexibility to change as it crosses from country to country.

Top insights and trends

They want to know why they were chosen
When you reach out to a potential recruit, a core priority for 75% of these is to find out why you believe they are a good fit for the role.
Cultural nuances 
Similarly to the U.S., there is a firm focus on healthcare and similar insurance policies among employees and candidates. As a result, making sure that these are positioned prominently as part of your EVP and any recruitment campaigns you produce is key to capturing their attention.

Furthermore, Canada both English-speaking and French-speaking inhabitants – around 23% of the population have French as their first language. Therefore, to best engage candidates from across the country, it is beneficial for your employer brand content to be presented in both languages, to ensure you don’t alienate a percentage of your potential workforce.

Potential challenges

Hybrid working has become an increasingly important priority for Canadian workers in recent years. According to Robert Half, 51% of employees prefer a hybrid style of working, splitting their time between home and the office. In fact, only 19% of those surveyed advocated for a full in-office approach.

Consequently, when attracting employees, it is crucial to showcase the flexibility and adaptability of your organisation to suit their needs. Highlighting features such as remote working opportunities, flexible hours, relaxed dress codes and more can help endear you to this evolving talent base. Emphasising this by extending the possibility of remote interviews and onboarding can demonstrate that you practice what you preach.

Another potential challenge for employer brand specialists is the shifting attitudes of younger recruits and where their motivations lie. While mature professionals value salary and benefits above everything, 18-to-24-year-olds are more interested in work-life balance.

So, it is therefore imperative that your employer brand, while consistent at its core, is malleable in what benefits it immediately presents to recruits depending on their age profile.


Top insights and trends

Diversity is a growing priority
57% of employees in the UAE say that diversity is a major initiative in their workplace, with 74% of women aspiring for senior leadership roles.

Companies are switching to flatter structures
There is a growing preference among the UAE workforce for closer collaboration and interaction across the various layers of companies, rather than a rigid, traditional hierarchy.

Cultural nuances
It is hard to nail down any standout cultural trends in the UAE as the population is so incredibly diverse. Close to 90% of the population are non-nationals, with up to 200 different nationalities represented, with different cultures and backgrounds. Recruits from Asia and MENA are primarily employed in low-skilled and semi-skilled jobs, while an increasing number of people from Europe and North America are sought out for high-skilled roles.

This makes it difficult to nail down a consistent cultural message for candidates, so it is important your branding can be quickly adapted to meet the unique needs, motivations and nuances of those living in the country. At a bare minimum, materials should be translated into both English and Arabic.

Additionally, this focus on international recruitment means that there is a big window of opportunity to prioritise Emirati talent. It is estimated that only 28% of UAE companies actively work to attract Emirati recruits – creating campaigns strictly built around their values and ambitions could help you stand out to these home-grown nationals.

Potential challenges

Alongside the cultural variation across the UAE, the biggest challenge facing employers in relation to talent acquisition is actually staff retention. Around 57% of working professionals in the region intend to switch employers at some point during a year, making it challenging for companies to maintain a steady, consistent workforce, and to present that image to candidates who are seeking a stable environment.

Consequently, to both encourage employees to stick around and to attract recruits with true staying power, it is beneficial for your EVP to contain initiatives such as:

  • Training and development opportunities
  • Employee mentorship programmes
  • Potential for employment progression
  • Performance and time-based incentives

Furthermore, showcasing signs of strong company culture on social media platforms – a channel that is widely underutilised in the region despite an increasingly tech-savvy population – can also help you stand out to candidates seeking long-term opportunities.

Top insights and trends

Flexible working is becoming the norm
While many organisations in the region have resumed office-based working, 20% have adopted hybrid models, while 50% have adapted to flexible hours so employees can avoid peak traffic and take care of their families.

Cultural nuances

Working hours in Hong Kong and Singapore are notoriously long and demanding. In the UBS 2016 survey, Hong Kong employees averaged 50.1 hours a week – the longest in the world and 38% more than the worldwide average.

However, this has helped contribute to Hong Kong being the fifth-most stressed population on the planet. As Western influence has helped encourage a greater appreciation of work-life balance in the region, companies that are able to offer a better balance will gain a stronger foothold with younger candidates.

The region is also fiercely family-orientated. As a result, presenting financial incentives and benefits in your EVP that relate not only to the candidate themselves but their wider family, such as healthcare or life insurance, will also give you considerable drawing power.

Potential challenges

There is a growing demand for flexibility in how people work across Hong Kong and Singapore – employees want to have a greater say in their workplace experience and more freedom of choice than in decades past.

Companies based in the area can support this trend in several ways, including:

  • Placing a firmer priority on good culture and associated perks, such as paying for taxis after overtime or providing meals
  • Presenting flexible hours and hybrid working opportunities, which are more sought-after than ever before
  • Being flexible over how candidates are paid (base salary, stock options, commissions), as this can especially appeal to older, more experienced candidates
  • Offering chances to work in other global locations or instituting international rotations, with more professionals in the region looking further afield for opportunities

Furthermore, as mentioned earlier, finding ways to streamline and accelerate the recruitment and hiring process will help you stay in employees’ good graces. This could involve offering a mix of in-person and Zoom interviews to make these more available, or making onboarding material digital so potential recruits can be sent this immediately after your reach out.

Adapt your employer brand to local trends

With the subtle, and not so subtle, differences listed above, how do you keep your employer brand marketing in line with your value proposition, while making sure that it ticks all the right boxes to roll out in a particular country?

Know your candidates 
Before you expand your recruitment efforts into a new location, it’s vital that you find out what potential candidates value most and refresh your employer brand accordingly. Use your knowledge of the local market to tailor your strategy, approach and messaging.

Localise your marketing materials
Even the smallest things, like switching UK spellings for American, can make a big difference in showing candidates that your brand understands the needs and requirements of their local market. The key to getting this right is to create country or region-specific marketing materials that feel like they have come from a local team.

Use BAM by Papirfly™ to take your global brand local

With its seamless language and localisation features, BAM by Papirfly™ can make global employer brand governance a reality for your company. Your teams will have everything they need to create on-brand, market-ready assets with no outside help needed.

You predefine the templates to ensure consistency with your brand guidelines, and our software instantly tailors your campaigns to countries across the world.

Capture local nuance
Ensure that your assets only contain culturally relevant imagery, colours and logos.

Speak any language
Translate your marketing materials into multiple languages and dialects.

React to recruitment demands
Bring fast asset creation in-house and be ready to snap up top talent before the competition.

Learn more about these localisation features and the benefits of BAM for employer branding by booking your live demo today