By Daniel Kidd

The internet, social media and employer branding are having a significant impact on the educational recruitment industry.

It’s still amazing to think that the Internet has only been with us now for about 20 years. How things have changed in that time as a result of the digital revolution with just about every piece of the service sector being altered almost beyond recognition.

A prime example of industries which have been at the forefront of all this upheaval is recruitment advertising which used to coast along quite happily with an assumed focus on traditional media like newspapers and trade magazines.

The Internet proved hugely disruptive to this long established model. All of a sudden, prospective employees discovered that they could search for job opportunities quickly and efficiently from the comfort of their own home without having to spend a single penny on publications. So the advertising agencies all had to fall in line and start promoting vacancies on the net.


More recently, social media has taken off and agencies have been forced to rapidly establish a presence here particularly in the fast growing area of employer branding.

The term employer branding was first used in the early 1990s to denote an organisation’s reputation as an employer. Since then, it has become widely adopted by the global management community.

Internal marketing focuses on communicating the customer brand promise, and the attitudes and behaviours expected from employees to deliver on that promise. While it is clearly beneficial to the organisation for employees to understand their role in delivering the customer brand promise, the effectiveness of internal marketing activities can often be short-lived if the brand values on which the service experience is founded are not experienced by the employees in their interactions with the organisation.

The employer brand is defined by the three stages of the attraction process; reputation (emotional), career offer (rational) and corporate culture (emotional). The key messages are:

Reputation = Successful international company, growth industry popular in a home country

Career offer = Challenging job, international work, career development opportunities, good pay

Corporate culture = Fair and open, non-hierarchical, inspiring people.

As the UK emerges from the recession, companies recognise that in order to improve their productivity and profitability, they must continue to attract and retain the best talent. This is exacerbated by baby boomers retiring and their outflow is greater than the inflow of young talent into the workforce.

Not only did education recruitment agencies have to start advertising academic vacancies on the web but they are also now called upon to focus more and more on branding educational establishments to attract both top quality staff and fee paying students from all around the world.

Cambridge University, for example, has worked hard to maintain its lead over Harvard as the World’s highest ranked university (there were no less than 4 British establishments in the top 7 spots for this year according to the annual rankings).

Recruitment agencies are now going to have to help organisations distinguish themselves from the competition by promoting strengths and confirming values to ensure that they stay ahead of the pack and become an employer of choice during both recession and boom times.

About the Author: Daniel Kidd writes about a wide range of recruitment and recruitment advertising issues with a special focus on

Employer Branding


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