How Employer Branding is Affected by Country-of-Origin : And its effect on Employee Retention of Generation Z
Abstract: Employer branding is becoming increasingly important, but the literature on the subject lacks vital elements. First, Country of Origin (COO) has been shown to affect employer branding, but this process is very poorly understood. Second, employee retention, although proven to have multiple benefits and to be impacted by employer branding, is underrepresented in employer branding research. Third, despite the importance of cultural context being well documented in literature, current employer branding research takes little consideration for this, especially in regards to Generation Z, who are becoming increasingly vital in the workforce. To mend these important research gaps, this thesis aims to examine how employer branding is affected by COO, and, in extension, how this impacts employee retention among Generation Z employees. This purpose is fulfilled by answering the following research question: “How is employer branding affected by COO when retaining Generation Z employees?” With this research question in mind, an abductive qualitative study was conducted using multiple- case studies in a Swedish MNE context. Semi-structured interviews with HR/employer branding managers and international Generation Z employees were conducted. This provided a dual perspective where both the views of employers and employees could be observed, analysed, and compared which was necessary to answer the research question. The results were then analysed using rigorous data-driven content-analysis. Using this approach, the study answered the research question by finding that employer branding is affected indirectly by COO through the process of other primary factors in retaining Generation Z. The research led to the introduction of a new model; The Employer Brand Compass, which illustrates how employer branding is affected by COO through three main factors in employee retention of Generation Z; ESG, development opportunities, and consumer branding.
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