Indian B-school students' perceptions of best employers.

AuthorMahavir, Jain Priya
PositionBusiness school


Employment branding today represents a growing share of recruitment budgets of organizations. Most organizations recognize the need for a cohesive and clearly articulated employment brand to attract candidates. In the quest to attract and retain high quality talent in an ever increasing competitive employee marketplace, employers are focusing significantly on building an employer brand, which showcases the organization's strengths as an employer and its employee value propositions. According to Hewitt Point of View (2009), "Best employers enjoy a bigger pool of talent from which to select employees"; this creates a need for organizations to become the best employer or the most preferred employer in the eyes of the targeted candidates.

Employer branding exercise faces several obstacles some of the major ones being:

* Threat from the competitors who share the same talent pool.

* Negative information in public domain which can damage employment reputations.

* Changing employee demographics and needs/priorities of the new generations (Gen Y, Z etc.).

* Technologies and systems which transform the ways in which companies, potential candidates, and consumers interact.

To overcome these obstacles and maximize the returns on the employer brand investments, understanding the perceptions of the target audience is critical. Engaging the audience and communicating with them through compelling branding strategies is possible only when those strategies align with the best brand perception. Thus, there is a focus on understanding the key drivers of successful employer brands among the talent segments. The drivers will help in selling the brand to the potential candidates in targeted, credible, and differentiated ways by customizing brand messages to the preferences and behaviors of key talent segments.

Employer Branding for Indian B-School Students

Indian graduates face problems of unemployment in large numbers (10% in 2011, Labor Bureau) but graduates from the top-tier Indian business schools such as Indian Institutes of Management (IIMs), Xavier School of Management (XLRI), Faculty of Management Studies (FMS) and a few others, are the most sought after by the recruiters. These institutes, consistently ranked among the top 10 by Business Today, Business Week, Economic Times etc., are renowned for grooming India's top talent in different fields of management through best educational facilities and training.

The concept of Employer Branding has gained significant importance among the recruiters in the Indian business schools. It these institutes, the placement of students happens during a specific period, when the recruiters are asked to visit the campus and select students. The recruiters have to compete among themselves for the limited pool of best talent. In order that a company gets to select the desired candidate, it will have to attract its customers (students) by differentiating its brand from others. This calls for a robust branding strategy to acquire the position of the most preferred employer in the minds of the students. Such a situation increases the significance of the students' perceptions regarding an employer brand.

Attracting and retaining the right candidates helps organizations to attain their strategic goals and long term vision. Employer branding concept, adapted from marketing, has increasingly become the focus of organizations towards developing their image as most preferred employer to enable the recruitment and retention of the best possible workforce. An effective employer brand can be developed using the aspects of employer attractiveness, which can be identified as the perceived benefits by a potential employee.

Some research has identified that job seekers' early beliefs and perceptions determine how they respond to organizations' recruitment and selection activities. Especially, for the Indian students pursuing management studies, the perceptions form very early through the word of mouth in the campuses and from college alumni in the industry. Sometimes the perceptions can be quite different from the reality and fragmented information can cause building of a wrong perceived image of an employer. Employer branding will therefore be crucial to reduce the gaps in the perception and reality about an employer.

This study analyzes and discusses the key factors which attract the Indian b-school graduates to the potential employers, both on a general basis and for specific student segments. The drivers or dimensions of the employer's attractiveness (based on the students' perceptions) are identified using a research methodology. It also discusses the implications and limitations of the findings and suggests the directions for future research. The research is an attempt to provide meaningful insights to the organizations for developing an effective employer branding strategy for the b-school campuses.

Scope of the Study

This study is carried out with the purpose of identifying the key drivers of successful Employer Brands with respect to the Indian b-schools campuses. The scope of research is limited to the tier-I b-schools or those institutes who have been consistently ranked among the top 10 management institutes by popular ranking agencies (Economic Times, Business Standard etc.). The drivers are identified from the perspectives of the students in these institutes. Data is gathered from the current students of the institutes and analyzed to generate the key attraction factors which make an employer the most preferred one among the candidates. The factors have also been classified on the basis of perceived importance (by the candidates in choosing an employer) as necessary factors, neutral factors and high impact factors. The study also segments the students according to gender as well as specializations and presents the key employer attraction factors for each of the segments.


The three main objectives of the study are as follows:

  1. To identify the most significant employment factors which attract the candidates towards an employer.

  2. To classify the identified employment factors on the basis of perceived importance while choosing an employer.

  3. To identify the factors which differentiate the most preferred employers from the others.

The research will also categorize the above factors on the basis of gender and area of specialization of the student (marketing, operations, finance, and human resources etc.).

The aim is to provide a valuable framework for the employers to design and manage an effective employer branding strategy for recruitment. Next, by classifying the factors from the most valued ones to the...

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