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The increasing globalization of business activities forces companies to recruit highly skilled employees all over the world. In order to attract these talents, employers have to differentiate themselves through a unique employer brand, appealing to diverse target audiences. However, in the absence of research on international students' preferences for employer characteristics, it is difficult for multinational companies to decide on a feasible degree of employer brand standardization. Lena Christians investigates the impact of between-country differences, such as in national culture or economic wealth, on students' preferences in relation to individual differences of students within the same country. In combination with a segmentation of the European graduate market, the results provide readers with inside on which elements of the employer value proposition are suitable for standardization in which target groups.



1. Introduction

“International economic development since the Second World War has been characterized by increasing international linkages and cross-border business activity of firms” (Backhaus, BÜschken,&Voeth, 2005, p. 3). This increased global activity of multinational corporations (MNCs) seems to be driven by a growing competition, which might originate from changes in consumer expectations, technological change, deregulation, and regional forces (Doole & Lowe, 2008).
Lena Christiaans

2. Theoretical Background and Literature Review

Employer branding is a relatively new field in research and management. Scientific literature on the topic is still scarce whereas quite a few management handbooks have evolved in recent years (cf. Backhaus & Tikoo, 2004; Edwards, 2010; Sutherland et al., 2002). Employer branding and its related concepts, such as employer attractiveness, are characterized by a lack of structure and some confusion with regard to definitions and termini (Sponheuer, 2009).
Lena Christiaans

3. Conceptual Framework and Deduction of Hypotheses

A key to identifying and attracting highly skilled employees is the understanding of which attributes of employer attractiveness are most or least attractive to the target population (Harold & Ployhart, 2008). A variety of researchers have examined different characteristics important to individuals when evaluating jobs. This research stream on job/organization choice can be traced back into the 1970s and is still of major importance in the recruiting and employer branding literature.
Lena Christiaans

4. Research Methodology and Data Basis

In order to test the proposed hypotheses and allow for representative conclusions regarding international employer branding strategies, as many countries as possible had to be involved in this project. The large amount of resources necessary to obtain such a large-scale data set and the crucial importance of involving local researchers in the research process of a multinational study (Craig & Douglas, 2000; Cavusgil, 1998) would not have allowed the author to carry out the data collection herself. Since scientific research on international employer branding and employer attractiveness hardly exists to date, the only access to large-scale data sets from several countries is through commercial research institutes.
Lena Christiaans

5. Empirical Analysis and Hypothesis Testing

In this chapter, data analysis will be carried out in two stages, leading to the discussion of the results of the empirical part of this project. Before conducting the main analyses, some descriptive as well as comparative results will be presented. After the description of the respondent profile, the sample will be analyzed with regard to individual differences between subgroups of students.
Lena Christiaans

6. Discussion of Empirical Findings

One of the main objectives of this research was to assess to which extent students’ importance ratings of employer attractiveness attributes differ across countries, and to identify influences which explain the variance in these ratings. A main goal was to enrich the research field of Employer Branding through the conduction of a cross nationalmultilevel analysis, incorporating individual difference variables as well as national culture and economic development characteristics with regard to their potential impact on attribute evaluations.
Lena Christiaans


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