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      Employer branding is key

      Employer branding is key

      In Luxembourg, almost 1 out of 2 people are more confident about their job security than last year; at an international level the same statistic is just 1 out of 5. This is one of the results of a survey conducted by the Robert Half recruitment company in the first half of 2010 across 19 countries. For European managers, maintaining employee morale is a great challenge; in the Luxembourg financial centre, staff retention is a greater one.

      6,300 financial leaders from 19 countries responded to the survey directed by Robert Half international, a recruitment and selection agency for highly qualified finance and accounting staff. The company was created more than 60 years ago in the US and has more than 350 offices worldwide. The office in Luxembourg opened five years ago.

      “Positive anticipation in Luxembourg is stronger than elsewhere. I think this is related to the size of the financial centre, because good and bad news travels faster. What’s more, the financial world is an industry that has the ability to bounce back very quickly”, says Géraldine Henning, who leads Robert Half in Luxembourg. She was appointed country manager in July 2008 to bring experience and knowledge to the market.

      According to the survey, 83% of financial leaders are confident about their company’s prospects in the forthcoming year. In Luxembourg this figure is even higher, at 86%.  But that does not necessarily mean companies are recruiting again in big numbers. “If you ask employers about their hiring intentions, it is not very intensive. The feeling that dominates is rather the fear of losing people who are already trained and those who are experts”.

      The fountain of youth

      In Luxembourg, one out of four respondents are concerned about their ability to keep top performers on board. Efforts have been made to increase retention via flexible hours, part-time working and career development programs. Géraldine Henning points out that the survey shows clearly there are incentives other than money which can be very effective, especially for young people.

      A dimension that I find very interesting is mentorship which is highly developed in France. 44% of employers use it there. In Luxembourg, the score is relatively modest at 12%. Mentoring is very important for the transmission of knowledge. Furthermore, it is not a financial burden for companies”.

      Some firms work hard to give employees a genuine feeling of pride in their company, something that is far more developed elsewhere than it is in Luxembourg. For Géraldine Henning, there is no doubt that Luxembourg companies have to work on their employer branding in order to attract qualified staff.

      “I think so far companies have not really created employer branding, because they did not need to. If you are a very well known company, you do not need to differentiate; but in many other cases, and particularly in financial services, differentiation will be necessary, especially in times of economic recovery.”

      The revolution has already begun

      Making efforts to improve your company’s image is one thing; finding new ways to recruit is another challenge. Géraldine Henning believes the use of social networks should not be underestimated.

      “In Luxembourg, the companies recruiting through LinkedIn are still pioneers. But if the country wants to remain at the forefront of certain industries and expertise, I think it's time to pay attention to this phenomenon. I have been thirteen years with Robert Half and 15 years in the recruiting industry and I have to admit that LinkedIn and other social networks is a revolution”.

      Recruitment advertisements in Luxembourg do not cover junior positions or very senior ones’, but rather middle senior jobs. “People who relocate to Luxembourg come because it is a career choice; the benefit of the quality of life comes after. This factor is certainly taken into account but is not predominant. You can also have a good quality of life in Switzerland.”

      There is another remarkable result in the Robert Half survey: in Luxembourg, 91% are happy with their current position, with just 9% planning to change jobs in the next six months. The factors most likely to motivate staff to stay are flexible working hours, additional training opportunities or a salary increase.