Sponsor’s Message from Michael Page Marketing: Inside and out, the brand is the pulling power

Michael Page’s Oliver Watson on attracting top-notch talent to you copany

This is the third annual survey that Michael Page Marketing has conducted in association with Marketing Week and it is a pleasure for us to be involved again. Over 1,000 marketing professionals, from a broad range of industry sectors, have taken the time to complete the survey, and we would like to thank you all for taking part.

The results clearly show some of the aspirations and priorities of the UK marketing community, while also illustrating some of the critical factors that attract people to specific companies and jobs. Unsurprisingly, the survey has thrown up some interesting factors that reinforce what we are all aware of: that attracting high-calibre candidates is indeed a significant challenge.

In a market place which is still highly candidate driven, the most attractive organisations are those whose corporate brands are matched by their perceived employer brands. Having an informal “culture” that is challenging, fun and rewarding is crucial in ensuring that your business is as attractive as possible to a discerning candidate market. The survey also highlights that the qualities associated with being a top company are very different to the factors that are important to a candidate when deciding on which business to work for. For example, career development prospects is the number one influence on an individual when considering which company to join, but only ranks ninth as a quality associated with a top company. With such inconsistencies it is no wonder that marketing recruitment is such a challenge.
From our experience the most attractive organisations, and those which manage the “people factor” well, are those that embrace the challenge that our market presents. There is an enormous amount of talent in our industry but often an innovative approach is needed to capitalise on it. Over the year since the last survey we have noted far better retention strategies from organisations looking to increase candidate loyalty. This makes the depleted candidate resource an even more acute problem. Businesses that are able to attract high calibre staff are typically ones whose brands, and perceived working practices, are aspirational to job seekers – in short those who invest as much in their employer brand as they do in their brands in the marketplace.

Yet even then the challenge is huge. With candidates still having real options in who they choose to work for, organisations must think laterally as to where the talent pool lies. Increasingly we are broadening our search for talent, utilising not only our national network but also our international network. The ability to communicate with high-calibre people outside of the UK is becoming critical, and organisations that are able to look beyond the lack of UK experience are starting to realise a candidate population that is, relatively speaking, untouched.

The regular challenge of needing to recruit quickly has also seen a further increase in the use of temporary and interim candidates. With organisations operating leaner marketing structures, it is crucial to be able to attractTalented marketers to support your marketing function while a search is undertaken for a permanent candidate. Increasingly our partners are seeing this as a way of managing what can be a challenging period in a busy work environment.

The rate of growth within the marketing industry in the UK has not subsidized at all this year and the signs are that it will continue into 2008. As this pattern continues we will all need to continue to evolve quickly to ensure that appetite for talented marketers continues to be met. We are constantly evaluating the process that help us secure the talent that we know you need, and it will become increasingly challenging for organizations to continue to improve in the areas that allow them to attract , retain and ultimately grow with the top candidates.

Congratulations to all the companies that have been included in the Michael Page Marketing and Marketing Week Top Employer Survey 2007, and thank you to all who gave up some of their valuable time in completing the survey.

Oliver Watson is regional managing director of Michael Page Marketing

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– Watson:
Companies need to invest in their employer brand in the same way they do their consumer brand

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