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YPAI International 2022 - revealing the secrets behind attracting young professionals

The YPAI 2022 International version contains a wealth of information invaluable to anyone looking to attract, develop and retain the European talents of tomorrow. Based on a survey conducted in six countries, the comprehensive report looks at the similarities and differences between the markets, identifying what is important to young professionals and the factors that influence their decisions.

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About YPAI International

The results and insights in YPAI International 2022 give employers active in more than one market within Europe a deep understanding of how to attract and retain one of the most sought-after groups in tomorrow’s workforce – young professionals. The survey is based on data from more than 14 000 respondents in Sweden, Finland, Norway, Denmark, Germany and Switzerland.

The most attractive employers

Which are the places where international young professionals would most like to work? We have compiled a list of the most attractive employers according to this target group. Learn which employers made it to the top lists.

Find out what international young professionals look for in an employer below. Browse to view more attributes.

Top ten attributes

The respondents were asked to choose between ten important attributes they look for in an employer.

Set up a meeting with a YP Specialist

Our local YP Specialists are happy to provide advice and analysis of this year’s YPAI results tailored to your business. Book a meeting with us to discuss how we can organize the presentation in the best way possible to meet your company’s expectations and needs. Together we determine how extensive the presentation should be and what to include.

Uncovering the needs of international young professionals

Do you want to know how to customize job ads to attract Finnish candidates? Or what to consider when developing your employer brand strategy to retain German candidates? Growing your talent pool beyond local borders is a great way to bring new perspectives to the company. However, to attract and retain top talents, you need to be aware of their needs and motivations. Therefore, we explore international young professionals' similarities and differences by looking into the factors they find most important when considering an employer.

What is significant for Switzerland?

Secure employment is up high on the wish list of Swiss young professionals. Unlike Sweden and Finland, the respondents would most like to work for old institutions and companies in the public sector, which reflects their desire for financial stability. There is also a strong desire for flexibility and work-life balance. However, most companies in Switzerland would like their employees to be back at the office completely. Sadly, young professionals often turn down job offers as a result of this need not being met.

Just like the German market, Swiss young professionals consider salary and benefits to be of high importance. They are aware of their value on the market and aim to be paid accordingly. Have you evaluated the relevance of your employees’ salary package?

What is significant for Denmark?

Danish young professionals are very protective of their company culture, which explains why geographical location of the workplace is in the top five most important attributes. They also value flexibility and work-life balance, but unlike other markets, the conversation around workplace flexibility isn’t as dominant in Denmark as they understand the purpose of working on-site. Another reason the geographical location is important is the fact that Denmark is a relatively small country. Being used to short distances makes long-distance commuting over an hour a big no for young professionals.

The employers that Danish young professionals most want to work for include tech giants and pharmaceutical companies, which signals that employee security and financial stability are other important factors to them.

What is significant for Sweden?

The uncertain state of the economy has had an impact on the Swedish YPAI results. A significant number of respondents in Sweden value secure employment and company stability to a higher degree than in other countries. This attribute has grown more complex and includes aspects of whether an employer will help future-proof the skills of its employees, how the employer will react to employees becoming parents and if they can feel completely safe and not at risk of sexual harassment. These aspects are followed by good manager and leadership as well as clarity and structure, which both are connected to secure employment.

The respondents’ desire for employee security also reflects their employer preferences. Many of the employers in the top ten are well-established tech companies with stable financials. Among the newcomers, we see several companies in MedTech.

What is significant for Germany?

The business culture in Germany is known to be formal and hierarchical, making German companies less inclined to offer flexible working arrangements. However, the Covid- 19 pandemic accelerated a shift to flexible work, noticeable in the last two year’s YPAI results. According to German young professionals, flexibility and work-life balance are among the most important factors, making it essential for employers to at least consider flexible work models.

The highest valued attribute includes salary and benefits, which increased by 11% as of last year. The increase can be explained by world events such as inflation impacting the global economy.

What is significant for Norway?

The desire for secure employment is also notable in the Norwegian results. Companies face the challenge of communicating their efforts to provide job stability for candidates, and for newly established businesses with little to no reputation, this is particularly important. Good manager and leadership is another important factor for Norwegian young professionals, stemming back to secure employment. Strong leadership is required to lead people successfully through turbulent times and create stability.

Like many other markets, Norwegian young professionals value flexibility and work-life balance. However, they also find the geographical location of the workplace important, proving that they don’t want to work remotely full-time. Have you implemented a hybrid work model?

What is significant for Finland?

Finland stands out from the other markets as it is the only country not prioritizing job security. Finnish young professionals are future-oriented and keen to drive their growth and development. Those working in finance and tech are particularly keen as they prioritize the nature of work tasks more than any other business area. Good manager and leadership is another valued attribute connected to a flat organization and employee-driven management, the same definition for almost all markets. Switzerland is the only market with a different definition of the attribute, as Swiss young professionals connect it to professional leadership. 

Just like in Sweden, Finnish young professionals want to work for employers at the forefront of innovation. Considering the Finnish gaming market explosion in recent years, it’s perhaps no surprise that several of the top ten employers are game developers of Finnish origin.

Communication package

Anyone who made our top list is welcome to download our communication package containing badges and images. Upload them in your e-mail signature and social media channels to inform everyone that you are one of the most attractive employers, according to international young professionals!

About Kantar

Young Professional Attraction Index has been conducted for eight years in a row by Academic Work in close collaboration with Kantar. Kantar is the world’s leading research agency within insights and analysis, with over 30 000 global employees in nearly 100 countries. Among a multitude of areas of expertise, Kantar has many years of experience working with perception studies in different target groups, both for the public and specific companies. 

About Academic Work

Academic Work is a recruitment- and staffing company founded in 1998 in Sweden. Today, we are an international organization operating in Sweden, Norway, Denmark, Finland, Switzerland and Germany. We are experts in recruiting young professionals and have, since the start, helped over 160,000 young professionals start their careers while fulfilling our clients' recruitment needs and helping them grow.

For companies, we offer expert support, providing deep knowledge of industry trends, talent sourcing, staffing and recruiting. We always strive to develop client relationships into business partnerships, meaning we are personal, transparent and client-centric in everything we do.

Do you need help finding the right talent for your business? You’re more than welcome to read about our services and get in touch!

Previous YPAI reports

Since 2015, we have conducted the Young Professional Attraction Index annually. As opposed to the current format, the survey previously consisted of several reports which are accessible and free to all.

YPAI 2021: Die 25 attraktivsten Arbeitgeberinnen und Arbeitgeber in Deutschland