Pistols or swords; which are the most useful weapons in the war for talent? : A study of business students employability

University essay from Umeå universitet/Handelshögskolan vid Umeå universitet; Umeå universitet/Handelshögskolan vid Umeå universitet; Umeå universitet/Handelshögskolan vid Umeå universitet


Globalisation has brought on dynamic markets and competition, and with that obliged companies to focus on long-term strategies and a greater focus on attracting, developing and retaining its employees. The present hunt for talent can be entitled as talent management, a concept that nowadays cannot be avoided. Talent management evidently not only affects companies, but also the newly graduates that are about to be employed. Students within business and economics are one affected group, since there is an increased competition for the most talented students within that field. Hence, it also concern different universities and Business Schools that offer education within the field as they are expected to provide students with certain skills before entering the working life. This leads us to an investigation of the following problem statement:

How could a business student become more employable and how does a Business School respond to the requirements of the companies in the view of the war for talent?

The main purpose with this study is therefore to obtain a comprehension of how newly graduates from Umeå School of Business (USBE) can become increasingly attractive among large organisations within the business world. In this qualitative study we wish to gain a deeper understanding of abovementioned issues and organisations’ talent management, and therefore we have used a hermeneutic perspective.

Consequently, we have performed telephone interviews with people that are well acquainted with recruitment and human resource related issues at large companies in Sweden. The eight interviewed companies include; Öhrlings PriceWaterHouseCoopers, Sony Ericsson, Volvo Group, Nobia and Nordea, as well as three companies who requested to be held anonymous and are thereby ficticiously named: HRCompetence, CapitalBank and Consultancy AB. In addition, we arranged group interviews with personell at USBE to get an insight of whether the Business School is focusing on facets that are valued by the organisations.

The scientific approach has been deductive, and the results from the empiricism has therefore been analysed together with recognised theories. The main theories used in this study regards Human Resource Management, Talent Management, Employment and Higher Education Institutions which leads us into Branding.

The results of the research show that students can become more employable by developing certain characteristics and competences. The most important ones are: driving force, education, work experience, activities in parallel to studies, international experience and good grades. When it comes to the Business School and in this case USBE, it can respond to companies’ requirements by most importantly increasing its corporate and community relations and increase its marketing in order to strengthen its brand. This could be done through providing internships, develop the alumni network, find alternative channels to corporate and community relations and marketing and engaging in internal marketing.

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