Sustainability and the environment are important for young professionals
We all want to have an employer brand that is instantly recognizable - one that tells young professionals that we should be at the top of their list when looking for a new job, but that takes time and a lot of effort, and more often than not, the need for skills is urgent.
In 2020, YPAI respondents gave a clear message as to what such brands should be about, and one of the main focus areas for them is sustainability and the environment. More than four in five (82 percent) say it is important to them that a prospective employer actively works with these issues, and Swedish firm AFRY scored highly for their engagement.
“We listen to our candidates and we learn so much from them”
Created after a 2019 merger between Swedish firm ÅF and Finnish company Pöyry, engineering, design and advisory firm AFRY has worked hard to establish such a brand. Carried out during a rebranding that came about as a result of the merger, that hard work is reflected in their eighth place among Sweden’s most attractive companies in the 2020 Young Professionals Attraction Index. One of the keys to their long-term success is their short-term conviction that communication is vital to attracting the young talents they need.
“The key here is communication – we listen to our candidates and we learn so much from them,” says Linda Büchler, Global Talent Acquisition at AFRY. “A simple but concrete example is that, during job interviews with candidates, we show a corporate presentation that is tailored for young professionals where we tell them a little more about what we have to offer as an employer and how it is to start your career here.”
The survey YPAI is based on over 16 000 responses collected across six countries and gives an indication what the most sought-after group in the labour market – young professionals – are looking for when choosing an employer.
Creating a clearer picture
With the demand for qualified, talented engineers far outstripping the supply, AFRY are well aware of the competition they face as they seek to find the perfect short- and long-term strategies to attract and retain them.
“We create sustainable solutions and societies for future generations, and to succeed we obviously need the talents of the future. It’s vital for us not only to connect with young professionals already in the workplace, but also with students and even younger people who haven’t yet started on their path,” says Martina.
The AFRY Future Stars program aims to attract final-year students to begin their careers with the firm, but their plans are even more long-term than that. They also work with inspiring young people, especially young girls who are underrepresented in technical educations today, to choose technical education. AFRY believe this is done by letting them try out various jobs and creating a clearer picture of what an engineer does, and by showing role models within the industry.
Communication is important
Once all this is communicated and the right talents are in place, the work doesn’t stop. The YPAI results in Sweden indicate that having opportunities to develop is a priority. “With us, we believe it’s your drive that keeps you moving forward, but our culture that makes it possible. We have offices in over 40 countries and are working within a wide range of industries and projects, which means the potential for development and trying new things is huge. We work with all kinds of projects, big and small, so you’ll have a chance to try new things, and our leadership focus means that you have excellent opportunities to grow and develop.” says Martina Edwin.
“With us, it’s your drive that keeps you moving forward, but our culture that makes it possible. We have offices in over 50 countries, which means the potential for development is huge. We work with all kinds of projects, big and small, so you’ll have a chance to try everything, and our leadership focus means that you have excellent opportunities to grow and develop.”
With the Covid-19 pandemic changing the way we do almost everything, communication became even more important, and AFRY decided to create a job-seeker’s manual to help candidates.
“Even if we can’t employ everyone who applies, we want them all to have a positive impression of us. The guide itself was created together with our fantastic recruitment team and is ow available in Swedish and English from our website and in our social media channels, and the response has been fantastic,” says Linda.
As the positive feedback from respondents in the 2020 YPAI results have shown, the rebranding has been a great success, but the team at AFRY know that there is still a lot of work to be done.
Focus on culture and leadership
“We’ve seen in polls and studies like the YPAI that many now know us by our new name, but we believe it might take a few years until it’s as well known as ÅF once was in Sweden,” Martina Edwin explains.
“We believe and hope that AFRY can be an even more attractive employer than what ÅF used to be, offering career opportunities in a modern workplace with challenging assignments and exciting projects all over the world”.
The YPAI results for 2020 and their comprehensive communication directed towards young professionals would suggest this might happen sooner rather than later, and AFRY are already implementing the lessons learned from the YPAI responses.
“We focus on our culture more than ever, and our leadership criteria are central in this. A leader at AFRY show the way by leveraging diversity and inclusion, empowering others, by taking a stand, being flexible and finding new ways. Together we build an inclusive culture where we all are brave enough to stand up for what we believe in,” says Martina Edwin.