# IT recruiting: Obstructions and opportunities

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1 Ghent University Faculty of Arts and Philosophy IT recruiting: Obstructions and opportunities Dissertation submitted in partial fulfilment of the requirements for the degree of Master in Multilingual Business Communication Steff Mercken Promotor: prof. dr. Geert Jacobs Academic year

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3 Abstract This research project looks into the turbulent market of IT recruitment. A theoretical outline of the IT recruitment market will put the reader in the right mindset and give the background information needed to understand the research. By means of a quantitative survey, conducted in the Belgian business world, we will answer five research questions about IT recruitment service: the awareness of recruitment firms, the specific professional relationships they have with customers, current and future customer expectations and satisfaction to be precise. The results of the analysis of the survey will enable the reader to gain more insight in the market, and concrete recommendations will be formulated for recruiters to make their services better and more appealing to indecisive prospects. 1

4 Contents List of tables and figures... 4 Abstract... 1 Introduction... 5 The problem... 5 The solution... 6 Part I: Recruitment of IT profiles: Outline Belgian IT market General IT in Businesses Trends HR and IT Recruitment in Flanders Definition IT shortage Outsourcing Positioning in the recruitment market Summary of recruitment methods Recruiting segments illustrated Conclusion Part two: Survey and research Methodology Concrete research questions Survey design Method Limitations during the survey Analysis of the results Composition of the sample Geographical distribution

5 Sector distribution Concerning the size of the IT department Research question 1: Top-of- mind-awareness Research question 2: Relationship between customer and recruiter Research question 3: Satisfaction analysis Research question 4: respondents priorities in the co-operation with a recruiter Research question 5: Future recruiting Part three: Recommendations for recruiters Top of mind awareness Events and sponsoring Online Recommendations based on the satisfaction analysis How to improve follow-up Price Summary Conclusion References Articles Websites Appendices Appendix 1: Survey questions Appendix 2: Outputs S.P.S.S Composition of the sample RQ1: Top of mind awareness RQ2 : Relationship customer-recruiter RQ3: Satisfaction RQ4: Customer priorities RQ5: Future recruiting

6 List of tables and figures Table 1: IT/sector in Belgium... 9 Table 2: Responses/sector Table 3: Number of recruiters Table 4: relationship customer-recruiter Table 5: same recruiter(s)? Table 6: Link hiring both profiles- professional relationship Table 7: Future recruiting Figure 1: : IT recruitment market Figure 2: Positioning of recruiters Figure 3: Research questions Figure 4: Responses/province Figure 5: Size of IT team Figure 6: t.o.m.a. IT professionals Figure 7: t.o.m.a. IT management Figure 8 : number of recruiters Figure 9: Satisfaction: turnaround time Figure 10: Satisfaction: communication Figure 11: Satisfaction: profile quality Figure 12: Satisfaction: follow-up Figure 13: Satisfaction: intake Figure 14: Satisfaction: guidance Figure 15: Satisfaction: price Figure 16: Satisfaction: average per aspect Figure 17: Word cloud priorities Figure 18: SEA and SEO for query 'IT recruitment'

7 Introduction The problem The market for IT recruitment is turbulent, competitive and fragmented. The Belgian market suffers a shortage of IT profiles for quite some time now, and the advent of the crisis in the IT sector has certainly not closed the gap between question and demand of these profiles. On the contrary, people are less likely to leave their current employer in uncertain times. That rigidity in the HR market leads to a smaller fishing pond where an abundance of local, national and international recruiters must compete for fewer jobs and candidates. Of course this implies a fierce competition. A company considering to outsource recruitment has already received CV s from five to ten different recruitment agencies. Even if the company decides to really externalize its search, it has to choose from a variety of different recruiters, specialized or generalist, for temporary and permanent contracts and for low-level, middle management and high management. Even in terms of size, recruiters range from small, regional, national to international. In order to survive this chaotic and saturated market as a recruiter, distinction is the key. A service is of course more difficult to distinct than, say, a car or a cell phone. However, if a recruiting firm knows what the customer wants and expects and can distinguish itself properly, it can form a light beacon towards confused and indecisive prospects. 5

8 The solution By means of a quantitative survey, this research will offer the reader more insight in this turbulent market. After giving a general outline of the current situation in the IT market and the HR market, we will examine the results of the survey, conducted with 230 companies employing IT staff in Belgium. Looking deeper into the relationship between customer and recruiter, customer expectations and satisfaction, will give us an outline of the current situation and enable us to pinpoint the opportunities for recruiters operating in this market. Based on these observations will be given a number of specific recommendations for recruiters to improve their service and stand out in the fierce competition. 6

9 Part I: Recruitment of IT profiles: Outline 1 Belgian IT market 1.1 General This chapter offers the reader a broader view of the Belgian IT market. With articles, research, rapports and figures, I will try to form an objective image of IT and the market surrounding it. There is no clear definition that allows to delimit IT as such from other sectors. Pragmatically, we can state that the IT sector is considered the whole of companies whose primary process is mainly focused on information technology. Based on the definition formulated by OESO, the IT sector includes the following branches of the economy: The recent developments in the IT market are characterized by the development of internet related services, including the use of cloud computing, which allows for the implementation of applications, such as using or combining of data or functionality from multiple sources in order to create a new service. 1. The definition in Barometer van de informatiemaatschappij (2013), from the FOD Economie,reads 2 : 1. Manufacture of computer, electronic and optical products 2. Wholesale of information and communication 3. Software publishing 4. Telecommunications 5. Design and programming of computer programs, computer consultancy and related activities 6. Data processing, hosting and related activities; Web Portals 7. Repair of computers and communication equipment 1 consulted on 6/5/ p.71, consulted on 8/5/

10 The IT sector has for some years been a key player in the Belgian economy. The turnover of the sector is 3.4% of the total turnover of the Belgian companies. The IT industry competitiveness index 2011" even puts Belgium in 22 nd place worldwide, and in 12th place in Western Europe. Belgium has a very extensive infrastructure. The number of Internet users is quite high (78% of households) and the number of companies connected to the Internet is very high (97 %) 3. According to the Barometer van de informatiemaatschappij (2013), from the FOD Economie, the number of companies in the ICT sector increased by about 13.3% between 2009 and 2012, or approximately 4,117 companies. At the same time, the sector experienced a sales increase of 0.9% 4. Despite the annual increase should not be forgotten that the IT sector is very choppy. Thus some 4,650 ICT companies were founded in Belgium, compared to 'only' 2,817 in 2005, in Still, the IT market has some of the lowest survival rates after five years, 56.9% 5. A trend that in 2014 already confirmed a total of 105 bankruptcies in January, February and March IT in Businesses IT skills are obviously essential in today s information society and economy. Like in any other developed country, companies in Belgium are eager to use the skills of IT professionals. 28% of Belgian companies employed IT specialists. This figure shows a remarkable difference between bigger and smaller companies: 84% of large companies employs IT specialists, whereas 21% of small companies 7. The following table gives a clear example of the dispersion of IT knowledge in different Belgian sectors in : Sector Number of IT- staff Percentage 3 consulted on 6/5/ p.69, consulted on 8/5/ consulted on 8/5/ htm, consulted on 8/5/ p.49-50, consulted on 6/5/ Survey regarding the Belgian IT labor market in 2011, Agoria ICT, april 2012, p.3 8

11 Services (61%) 12% IT (30%) 47% Government (3%) 4% Industry (6%) 2% Totaal (100%) 10% Table 1: IT/sector in Belgium ICT staff in Belgium combined, albeit less evenly spread over various sectors, is still good for about 157,072 workers in At the same time, we also note that the ICT sector in Belgium is still passing through a structural growth. If we compare the 2011 figures with those of 2006, we notice an incline of 15% in employed ICT workers. 1.3 Trends The growth noted for 2011 is also applicable to the future. After a crisis in the IT landscape in 2012, we again observe a clear growth. The Belgian market for IT services and software promises to regain momentum by 2016, with an increase of billion euros in 2012 to 6,449 billion in 2016, or an annual growth of 3.2% 9. Other articles seem to substantiate this. "The IT sector is the only sector in our country that still expects an increase in economic activity for the remainder of the year. reads an article in Datanews of 05/14/ , and IT market grows to 2,5% in 2014 headlines an article in Computable.nl 11. The Data News salary inquiry 12 reports 28% of respondents who noticed an increase of IT jobs in their company in 2013 and 43% claimed the number stayed the same (p.23) htm, consulted on 6/5/ htm, consulted on 6/5/ html, consulted on 8/5/ Kindermands, Guy. Optimisme bloeit op. In Data News Career Guide, speciale uitgave, 4/4/2014, p

12 2 HR and IT Recruitment in Flanders 2.1 Definition A definition of Human resources(hr) can be found on businessdictionnay.com: The division of a company that is focused on activities relating to employees. These activities normally include the hiring of new employees, orientation and training of current employees, employee benefits, and retention. 13 This definition focuses mainly on the internal structure of companies. But this internal HR service doesn t always succeed in finding the right person for the available job. Especially if a middle or upper management function is sought, or an expert in a particular area, problems can occur. The SME s, in addition, have fewer resources for an HR service, or are simply too small to start internal HR operations. For all these problems external HR offices do provide an added value. With their wide networks and well updated databases, they can choose at a higher rate and from a larger pool of candidates. Furthermore, compared to the time and effort internal HR operations demand, hiring an external recruiter often implies better results at lower costs. Within the large group of HR offices, there is a great differentiation. For example, there are headhunters, recruitment offices, etc. More on this explanation in 3. Within this world of HR, the niche of IT recruitment takes a significant and ever growing place, as the IT sector itself does within the economy. IT recruiters also depend on large networks and networking skills, towards labor forces, companies and other competing recruiters. 2.2 IT shortage A survey of Agoria, the federation of companies in the technology sector 14, showed that many sectors continue to face a shortage of IT staff. 2011, for example, saw a total of vacancies on the Belgian IT labor market 15. A similar survey by the FOD economie in 2013 confirmed this problematic situation: 11% of Belgian companies tried to hire new IT staff in But here lies the problem: according to the same survey, 48% of Belgian companies find it difficult to find adequate IT 13 consulted on 8/5/ consulted on 8/5/ Survey regarding the Belgian IT labor market in 2011, Agoria ICT, april 2012, p p.48, consulted on 7/5/

13 manpower 17. Besides, these figures differ from sector to sector: only 1% of companies in construction faces problems in hiring IT personnel, whereas in the IT sector itself as much as 30% 18. A significant raise, since that was only 9% in 2011, according to Agoria 19. These figures both justify and criticize the presence of IT recruiters in Belgium at the same time. With their talent and means, they ought to close the gap between question and demand of IT workforces. Unfortunately, that is not the case. This shortage of IT professionals can even cause a restraint on the development of the digital economy, according to the FOD 20. But IT recruitment itself is naturally not the cause for the gap between question and demand of IT personnel. The problem has a more complex structure. An considerable evildoer is the small number of highly educated IT personnel in Belgium. In the last couple of years, the IT sector had to cope with an aging population. The influx of newly graduated Belgian IT specialists falters, even to such degree that the Data News Career Guide 2014 indicates that 66% of their respondents in the IT sector claims to be 40 years or older 21. IT has become a bottleneck profession. The declining influx of IT professionals can be blamed to the waning popularity of IT training in Belgium, especially compared to other European countries. The very small percentage of women who opt for IT is also an important factor. There remains a lot of untapped potential among the female population Outsourcing The IT shortage could partially be resolved by outsourcing IT professionals (i.e. to place out operating activities to service companies). In Belgium, to IT professionals are working in subcontracting. The whole Belgian IT outsourcing market accounted for a good 3 billion euros in 2012, which is more than 15% of the total IT market. Furthermore, this number is only increasing: IT outsourcing grows annually by 5 to 10 percent. Because of the economic and financial crisis, companies are forced to work more efficient, which implies more outsourcing. For example, 17 p.49, consulted on 7/5/ p.51, consulted on 7/5/ Enquête over de Belgische ICT-arbeidsmarkt in 2011, Agoria ICT, april 2012, p p.91, consulted on 8/5/ htm, consulted on 12/5/ Van Damme, Dries. Met een ICT-job zit je gebeiteld. IN: Data News Career Guide, speciale uitgave, 4/4/2014, p

14 companies often only need part-time labor. In this case, relying on outsourcing is more efficient 23. Eventually, an increase of outsourcing in a period of low conjuncture is a normal phenomenon. An economic change severely alters the recruitment behavior of companies. In times of economic boom, companies want to employ people on a rather permanent basis. During an economic crisis however, the opposite occurs: companies prefer to staff their current projects with temporary workers. This allows them to downsize more easily in bad times. IT professionals themselves also play it safer in times of crisis. By staying with their current employee, they avoid venturing into the unstable job market. So there are fewer job seekers in the IT labor market, but by doing so, they send the recruitment market more towards outsourcing themselves. An important and worrying trend on the IT market is the increasing outsourcing abroad, currently representing 20% of total Belgian outsourcing. This slowly gains terrain on inland outsourcing, because there are not enough IT professionals to be found in Belgium. On the contrary, IT professionals are in abundance abroad, at significantly lower rates. Furthermore, there is a global tendency towards specialization. Certain skills are more easily to be found abroad. Therefore, foreign IT professionals are an attractive alternative, especially to bigger companies 24. Since the economic crisis, the Belgian IT market has seen an influx of South-European IT-specialists, who come here to fill the outstanding vacancies. But outsourcing abroad is not the miraculous solution to remedy the shortage. Language often poses a barrier, because knowledge of English is not self-evident with Southern-European IT professionals consulted on 12/5/ consulted on 12/5/ htm, consulted on 12/5/

15 3 Positioning in the recruitment market 3.1 Summary of recruitment methods In this chapter, we look at Belgian recruiting up close. Recruiting agencies are numerous. A look at the member list of Federgon, the overarching organization for HR services 26, shows a long list of direct and indirect competitors 27. Because joining Federgon is not required, there are also a lot of other potential competitors, not included in this list. Take for example this overview of companies operating in headhunting and executive search, which also Figure 1: : IT recruitment market includes companies that are not connected to Federgon 28. To gain more insight into which recruiters are direct competitors, and which ones offer rather indirect competition, it is useful to explain the structure of HR service. Figure 1 divides recruiting agencies systematically. At the left side are the generalist players, namely HR services that don t limit their actions to a specific sector. Instead, they look to fill vacancies in different sectors. At the right side, we have specialized recruiters. They focus on one niche, rather than the whole market, specializing in for example IT, finance, chemistry, etc. Temporary employment; search & selection The scheme is vertically divided according to search methods. At the bottom of the pyramid are those organizations that focus partially or mainly on temporary employment and the secondment of workforces. Here we can find interim offices like Monster, Randstad or Experis. The middle segment houses recruitment and selection offices who only work with permanent contracts. Typically, these companies use large scale search methods to find manpower. Furthermore, the mass advertising in papers and/or on job boards indicate a more passive approach in the search for candidates. Such 26 consulted on 7/5/ consulted on 7/5/ consulted on 7/5/

16 companies also eagerly use their databases, in which a large quantity of personal and professional information is stored. Often a vacancy can be filled with the sole use of a database. Logically, these two lower segments own the biggest share on the HR market. They provide recruiting services for vacancies on low and middle company level, positions that are, by definition, more numerous than those higher up in the company hierarchy. Top segment The search approach is rather different in the top segment, i.e. executive search and headhunting. Databases are still an important asset, but not the key factor in the search for candidates. Given the average caliber of the vacancies (annual salaries well above 180,000) and the customers demands, these recruiters tackle things differently. First of all, there is more consideration between recruiter and customer. This more intimate relation reflects the gravity and importance of the job vacancy and the responsibility of the wanted profile. Secondly, the search for the right candidate only starts after the intake, the moment when the assignment is initially discussed with the customer. As opposed to this, recruiters from lower segments of the pyramid could have already done half of the search process by using their databases. Often recruiters operating in headhunting and executive search blame some bureaus in the underlying segments their work ethics, focusing more on quantity than quality. According to them, the pace at which candidates are hired is more important than finding an actual match. Annick Declercq-Kloppert and Philippe De Wil, partners at Inexsa Executive search, talk about what distinguishes their approach from these bureaus in Trends Magazine 29. They criticize the pseudo bureaus that work per mouse click and prentend they achieve results similar to ours (p.72). Search bureaus and headhunters rather use their networking skills to find the right candidate. Their approach is typically more small scale. With an active search process, based on personal communication, the method these recruiters use can be determined as more targeted. This is also the opinion of Declercq-Kloppert and De Wil. LinkedIn and such are useful tools, but only a minor part of the whole search process. Apart from the candidates track record, their personality and soft skills are also to be found and analyzed. To achieve this, no CV, database or social network can substitute the personal networking and personal, direct approach. The executive search method is tailor made (p.72). 29 Standaert, Olivier. «Les métiers des ressources humaines jouent des coudes». In : Trends, 16/1/2014, p

17 Another added value that bureaus from the top segment offer, is their neutrality and critical attitude. These bureaus check profoundly if there is an actual fit between a possible candidate and the vacancy, company structure and company culture. If this is not the case, and such a customer is not to be found, executive search agencies are not afraid to recline the assignment, rather than pushing a less suitable candidate into the vacancy (p.73). An equilibrium between the desires of the company, and the desires of the candidate, is sought. Besides the caliber of the requested candidates, mostly middle and top management, and the small scale search method, companies from the top segment can typically be distinguished by the no cure, no pay-idea Recruitment and selection bureaus usually follow the principle that, if a suitable candidate is not to be found, the customer is free of charge (=no cure, no pay). However, for search bureaus, this is virtually impossible. The hard and soft skills required for the average job vacancy are very specific. A single assignment thus demands more time and effort and has a higher risk of failure. Bernard Ghins, consultant at Eric Salmon & Partners, confirms this: People come to us [the upper segment] because the mission is difficult to execute and they already tried the cheaper agencies. 30 Because of their quality approach, recruiters in the top segment are significantly more expensive. This is also reflected in the number of assignments this segment receives, compared to the other segments. For example: only 8% of all assignments of all placements happen through executive search 31. Search bureaus mostly charge customers in slices; one part after the intake, one part after the shortlisting or presentation of the candidates and one final part after the actual hiring. This usually is a percentage of the gross annual salary of the hired candidate. This is also mostly a percentage of the gross annual salary of the hired candidate. Furthermore, headhunters and searchers try to close an exclusivity contract, in order to develop a durable professional relation, but more importantly to spread their risks towards the customer. Logically, generalist and specialized agencies in the same segment can be competitors. Temporary employers, recruiting and selection agencies and top segment bureaus operating in the same niche are competitors as well. But competition doesn t necessarily follow the division made in figure 1. The division on which this chapter elaborates is not an exact science. The difference between a search agency and a recruitment and selection agency is fuzzy. A lot of executive searchers get assignments below their standards, and in this time of economic crisis, companies prefer to work with cheaper no cure no pay-agencies to recruit executive profiles. The same goes for generalist versus specialized. Some recruiters operate entirely within the niche of IT. Other agencies focus mainly on IT, but are 30 Standaert, Olivier. Les métiers des ressources humaines jouent des coudes. Trends, 16/4/2014, p Idem 15

18 also active within other sectors, like for example finance. Therefore, the division of competing recruiters within segments is arbitrary and debatable. 3.2 Recruiting segments illustrated This chapter lists some examples of recruiters, grouped according to the division in 3.1. It briefly explains where the recruiter is situated in the recruitment market and gives some general features. This information is based on telephone conversations with employees from all of these agencies, complemented with information found on the company website. A. Generalist search firms These are firms that receive rather high end assignments, without specializing in one particular niche. Beaumont 32 A large, international search firm with offices in Asia, America and Europe. The Brussels office employs five consultants. Beaumont is active in all technology driven sectors, including IT. An small annual number of 30 assignments in Belgium gives away that the Beaumont Group strives to find the right candidate for difficult, demanding positions. This is something that is expected from high end executive search. In their own words, Beaumont does not always succeed in closing an exclusivity contract with a customer. Often the customers own internal HR department also keeps looking, or the customer hires no cure, no pay-type recruiters. But never does Beaumont have to compete with other executive search firms for an assignment. Altior 33 An executive search firm that is significantly smaller than Beaumont, with a dozen employees in Brussels and Waregem. Altior operates within middle and top management level. With consulted on 7/5/ consulted on 7/5/

19 to 90 successful placements annually, Altior has a higher number of placements than Beaumont. As is customary with executive searchers, Altior demands exclusivity. The payment is also always done in three slices, as is common with such offices M18 34 A third generalist search firm is the Antwerp based M18. Although M18 used to operate solely within IT, it evolved into a generalist recruiter. The company is slightly smaller than Altior, with a number of five employees. It accounts for 40 to 50 actual placements annually. Like the other firms, M18 demands exclusivity, although this isn t always possible. Situations in which exclusivity is not a possibility are for example the initial collaboration with new customers, or when the firm takes over assignments previously given to no cure, no pay-recruiters. IT-search firms These are firms with the same caliber as M18, Beaumont or Altior, but specialized in IT recruiting. At Recruitment 35 Although At recruitment sporadically gets assignments for finance profiles, IT is still its core business, on professional and management level, with around 85% of all placements. This amounts to an average 100 assignments on an annual basis. That is rather impressive for a firm counting five employees. Like the other search firms, At Recruitment works with exclusivity contracts and prepayment. Generalist recruitment and selection firms As explained earlier, recruiters from the two lower segments are characterized by a more passive, large scale recruiting approach. Most of them are also no cure, no pay. Hays IT 36 Hays is an international recruiter, who is also a heavyweight on a national level: eleven agencies, divided across ten cities. Specialized in nine sectors, Hays can be labeled as a broad player in the recruiting business. We limit us to Hays IT, the department specializing in IT, with offices in Ghent en Brussels, each one employing three consultants. They tackle things large-scale: the Brussels IT department alone gets an annual number 34 consulted on 7/5/ consulted on 7/5/ consulted on 7/5/

20 of a hundred assignments. Regarding exclusivity, Hays faces many difficulties, and like them a lot of other recruiters in the middle and lower segment. Signing exclusivity is hard to achieve nowadays, because of the growing and fierce competition. Specialized search and selection firms Computer Futures 37 Its name is a good help in profiling the company s specialization in IT recruitment. Computer Futures employs somewhere between 500 and 600 people and can count on a daily number of two new assignments. This makes the company a major player on the Belgian IT market. Computer Futures also tries to sign exclusivity contracts, but not always successfully. Configure A small company (ten employees), with IT recruitment as its core business. Configure praises its voluminous database and claims to put advertisements on all the right job boards 38. Furthermore, Configure is a no cure, no pay-recruiter. These indications put Configure in the middle segment, with the recruitment and selection firms. On the other hand, the company prides itself on its personal approach and excellent monitoring of the candidates after the actual hiring. These are methods rather typical for search firms and headhunters. This indicates the sometimes fuzzy boundaries between the different recruitment types, discussed in consulted on 7/5/ consulted on 7/5/

21 Generalist lower segment These are recruiters that work solely or partially with temporary work forces, not limited to the IT sector. Experis The youngest subbrand of ManpowerGroup, one of the biggest HR services in the world 39, with offices in 80 countries. Experis focuses on IT, finance and engineering. They work with permanent as well as temporary contracts. IT specialized lower segment Harvey Nash 40 Harvey Nash is internationally as well as nationally known. The recruiter has three agencies in Belgium. Together they account for 800 employees. The difference with Experis lies in the focus on IT. This is Harvey Nash s core business. It also works with permanent as well as temporary contracts. Figure 2 gives an additional visual overlook of the positioning of the treated recruiting firms. 39 consulted on 7/5/ consulted on 7/5/

22 Generalistis search IT-search Generalist search and selection IT search and selection Lower segment: generalist Lower segment: IT Figure 2: Positioning of recruiters 20

23 4 Conclusion Part one gave the reader a general overview of the IT sector and the recruitment market. As chapter one and two showed, the IT profiles are found across the whole Belgian economy and are highly wanted. Meanwhile, the IT sector and the recruitment of IT profiles are currently undergoing tumultuous changes. This poses another weight on recruitment firms, who already have to cope with intense competition, direct and indirect. Chapter three explained the world of recruitment and showed different forms of and methods to IT recruitment, with concrete examples. 21

24 Part two: Survey and research 1 Methodology After the first part, which was rather a sketch of the Belgian IT recruitment market, we have now arrived at the true intent of this research. Part two contains the survey and its results.this chapter explains the concrete research questions and also describes how these questions will be effectively investigated. 1.1 Concrete research questions This paper intends to answer five big questions: RQ 1 RQ 2 RQ 3 RQ 4 RQ 5 What is the top-of-mind awareness of recruitment agencies among companies for management and professional IT profiles? What are the different natures of the professional relationship customer-recruiter? How satisfied are customers about their recruiter(s)? What do companies find most important about the collaboration with an external recruiter? What about future recruitments? Figure 3: Research questions Through a quantitative survey research, this paper attempts to answer five big questions about the Flemish IT recruitment market. The first question assesses the 'top of mind' awareness of IT recruiters, both to recruit people at management level, and professional level. Some agencies are after all more specialized in one specifical level. A management profile logically requires different 22

25 personal and interpersonal skills than a mere professional profile. By asking respondents which recruiters they spontaneously think of, we can measure this awareness. A second question investigates the professional relationship between recruiters and customers. A customer will often collaborate with one and the same recruiting agency, i.e. a partnership. At the other side of the spectrum is a more fluctuating co-operation with different agencies for different missions. A partnership is obviously much more interesting and lucrative for a recruiter. This research question will inspect which one is more often the case. Thirdly, we will look at how satisfied companies are with their external collaboration(s). With the aid of a satisfaction scale, we can measure the level of satisfaction in companies, and pinpoint what the strong and weak points of recruitment agencies are. Fourthly, we will look at what companies themselves prioritize in their collaboration with a recruiter. Obviously, some companies pay more attention to different aspects of the recruitment service than other companies. With quantitative research, we will analyse which factors are most important to the sample of companies. A last research question looks into future matters. Will there be more IT vacancies in the months and years to come, and will the search for candidates be externalized more or less? 1.2 Survey design These questions reflect an attempt at empathy with the position of the customer and specifically for the recruitment of IT staff. In a market with a high degree of competition, diversification and stratification, the perspective of the customer can bring some clarity. Naturally, they want to hire a candidate. In order to achieve this, the price is more important to some than to others, to wom the speed is of more importance. However, everybody wants to hire the best candidate possible. The customers appreciation and expectation form the common thread throughout this inquiry. By conducting a quantitative telephonic survey with some 600 companies of different size and in different sectors and regions, we try to draft a representative sample sheet of the IT recruitment behavior in Flanders. Due to the limited time, the survey could not be widened to the whole of Belgium. Based on the research question, the survey was divided into six parts (see appendix). A first part looks into the top of mind awareness of the in Flanders operational recruitment agencies, by asking 23

26 respondents what agencies they spontaneously think of, for recruiting both IT management profiles and IT professionals. A second part investigates the nature of the relationship Flemish companies have with their recruiters. We will assess if the relation is variable or intimate, and the concrete number of recruiters that agencies work with annually. A third part of the survey explored what companies thought of provided service, by means of Likert scales that measure the level of satisfaction about certain aspects of the collaboration. Fourthly, respondents were asked to fill in their top three priorities in the collaboration, in order to investigate research question four. This way we will be able to map the priorities of Flemish companies in their collaborational habits. In order to answer the fifth research question, respondents were asked if they thought they were going to externalize more, as much or less IT recruitment in the future. A last bundle of questions joined information about the respondents, like their sector, region, the size of their IT team, etc. These are the socio-demographic data. 1.3 Method In order to obtain a representative sample, companies of all sizes and shapes were included in the contact list, ranging from small SME s to large multinationals. In each phone call I asked to speak to the person in charge of recruiting. He then was asked to answer the questions of the inquiry. As an incentive, the respondent was given the option to receive the results of this research, an option that was picked nearly every time. In order to compose the long contact list, two magazines were primarily used. Firstly the Datanews ICT Guide , which lists the more important players on the Belgian market for IT services (p.46-59), software (p.60-83) and hardware (p ). A second primary source was the Datanews career guide , which lists companies that are presently looking for qualified IT personnel (p.52-67). To prevent too large of a number of companies working solely in the IT sector, other companies were also spontaneously included. 41 Datanews ICT Guide. Listing. Speciale uitgave 12/4/2013, p Datanews Career Guide. Speciale uitgave Listing. 4/4/2014, p

27 1.4 Limitations during the survey Although special measures were taken to include enough companies that work outside of the IT sector, the majority of respondents are still working in IT. But this is representative for the ratio of IT personnel per sector in Belgium (cf.part I 1.2). In addition to the strong presence of the IT sector, problems of a more practical nature occurred during the telephone survey. Often the person responsible of hiring is not or very difficult to reach. Especially when this is the general manager, as is the case in many SME s. In many cases, it was only possible to the responsible, because of company policy, or simply because this person preferred it. Obviously, the response rate via is sensibly lower. Because of this, I attempted to conduct as many surveys as possible by telephone. Despite these difficulties, a sample of 230 companies was reached. The next chapter will give more explanation on the composition of this sample 2 Analysis of the results This chapter will process the answers given in the 230 filled out questionnaires and illustrate them by means of charts and tabulations. Firstly, attention will be directed towards the sample itself: How do the respondents profiles look like? After the investigation of general proportions we will systematically look closer into the five research questions. 2.1 Composition of the sample This chapter gives a general overlook of the socio-demographic proportions of the obtained sample. As was previously mentioned, the total number of respondents reached 230. This number is not all that large, but taken into account all the previously mentioned obstacles and difficulties that occurred, the total number could have been lower. 25

28 Geographical distribution The following chart lists all answers to the question what province is your IT team based in? In addition, IT team can range from a traditional IT support department to the more broad area of IT consulting and everything in between. Luxemburg Luik Henegouwen Namen Waals-Brabant Limburg Vlaams-Brabant West-Vlaanderen Oost-Vlaanderen Antwerpen Brussels H.G Figure 4: Responses/province Because the survey focussed on companies located in Flanders and Brussels, there is only a minority of respondents active in the Walloon provinces. Within Flanders, the provinces of East-Flanders and Antwerp are largely represented. Limburg, on the contrary, is much less represented. Sectoral distribution The following table lists the different sectors in which the surveyed companies are operating. Naturally, a large part of the respondents indicated to operate in multiple sectors Sector N Accountancy 1 Automobile 2 Construction 5 Chemistry 3 Services 18 Printing / publishing 6 Energy 3 Engineering 3 Finance 5 26

29 F.M.C.G. 1 Healthcare 8 Graphics 2 Trade 2 H.R. 5 Insurance 3 I.T. 119 Agriculture 1 Logistics 4 Media 3 Metal 3 Mining 1 Non-profit 3 Education 3 Advertisement 1 Retail 5 Telecommunications 9 Toerism 1 Nutrition 4 No answer 23 companies Total 207 Companies Table 2: Responses/sector As was expected, the vast majority of surveyed companies indicates operating in IT (119), winning by a landslide from services (18). Concerning the size of the IT department The following graph shows what answers respondents gave to the question What is the size of your IT team? IT team can range from a small scale support team to a whole IT company with nothing but IT staff werknemers 6-10 werknemers werknemers werknemers Meer dan 50 werknemers Figure 5: Size of IT team 27

30 Accent AGO Akros Amon Aston Carter AT Recruitment Blake & Partners Computer Futures Hays Hudson Huxley Jobat Monster Orbid Randstad Talent Planet Target Recruitment The Network Vacature VDAB The answers are more or less evenly divided between groups. Only companies with more than 50 people in IT staff are much more represented, at approximately double the number of the other groups 2.2 Research question 1: Top-of- mind-awareness What recruiting agencies do companies spontaneously think of for recruiting IT professionals and IT management? By answering these questions we can gather more insight in the top of mind awareness of recruiting agencies. The goal here is not only to find out which names stand out most. By asking respondents what agencies they think of, we can also detect if there are big differences in publicity, and if there is a pattern and logic in that. Top-of-mind-awareness for IT professionals Figure 6: t.o.m.a. IT professionals The result of asking respondents what agencies they thought of for recruiting IT professionals resulted in a very long list of recruiters who were mostly mentioned only once. They have been withheld from the above chart, in order to keep the overview clear. Still most of the agencies included in the chart are little mentioned. Only some were named more than five times. These include Computer Futures, Accent, Hays, Amon and Aston Carter. There is some dispersion along the spectrum specialized-generalist, Computer Futures and Amon 43 being focused solely on IT, Aston 43 consulted on 5/5/

31 Carter 44 having IT as its core business, along five other fields, and Hays and Accent 45 finally being generalist recruiting firms. This chart has some clear implications. Firstly, the offer of recruiters on the Belgian market is numerous and dispersed. To keep this chart legible, those recruiters only mentioned once had to be cut, deleting almost half of all the mentioned agencies. Secondly, specializing in IT plays an important role in raising top of mind awareness. Three of the five agencies mentioned more than six times are specialized in IT recruitment. Top-of-mind-awareness for IT management Figure 7: t.o.m.a. IT management The list of agencies mentioned for IT management recruiting is sensibly smaller. A rather high percentage of respondents indicated not employing said profiles, which naturally results in a smaller list. Like in the previous chart, recruiters that were mentioned but once were withheld from the chart. Apart from the smaller list, not much has changed from the previous chart. The same five agencies have the highest top of mind awareness, and the list shows a strong dispersion amongst the other agencies. Specializing in IT results in a higher top of mind awareness, as is proven by Amon, a 44 consulted on 12/7/ consulted on 12/7/

32 specialist and a rather small agency, with only twelve employees 46. In the niche of IT recruitment, this small specialized agency achieves a high top of mind awareness. Observations - The recruitment market is intensly divided along the lines of top of mind awareness, with only five agencies being named more than six times. - Most of the recruiters with the highest top of min awareness are specialized in IT. 2.3 Research question 2: Relationship between customer and recruiter Number of recruiters per customer By asking respondents how many agencies they currently co-operate with, we can detect what the average number is. Number of recruiters N % , , , ,5 > , ,7 Total ,0 Table 3: Number of recruiters Companies mostly work together with only one recruiting agency. Paradoxically, the second largest group form those companies without external recruiting. This is simply because a large number of respondents declared not to co-operate with recruiters at the current time. These respondents were still included in the analysis because they could still give valid responses to other survey questions. The following chart is included for the sake of clarity, showing the division of respondents who do currently work together with recruiters. 46 consulted on 5/5/

33 > 4 Figure 8 : number of recruiters This chart shows an interesting division, with over 60 respondents with one recruiter. This number decreases when the number of recruiters increases, with the exception of companies with more than four recruiters. Analysis of the data shows a connection between the size of the IT team and the number of recruiters a company co-operates with. This is shown in the following table: Number of recruiters >4 N total Size IT team 0-5 Employees 66,7 19,0 14,3 0,0 0,0 21=100% >50 Employees 22,2 14,8 18,5 11,1 33,3 54=100% Table 4: : connection between team size and number of recruiters This table shows the connection between IT department size (horizontal) and the number of recruiting cooperators (vertical). Noteworthy is the contrast in co-operational behavior between companies with a small (less than five) IT staff and numerous (more than 50) IT staff. Those with smaller departments are inclined to work together with one single recruiter, as to companies with larger departments, who tend to prefer multiple collaborations. Explications for this phenomenon can differ. A smaller IT department often implies a smaller company. Smaller companies possibly give more importance to an enduring, more intimate collaboration with one recruiter, that understands their situation and needs thoroughly. Companies with larger IT teams would rather value multiple external recruiters, each with their own specialities and added value, in order to fill in the greater number, and more diverse nature of wanted profiles. 31

34 2.3.2 Nature of the relationship This question elaborates on the research of the previous question, by detecting what relationship the respondent s company has with its recruiter(s). Possible relationships can be an intimate partnership relation with one or two generalist partners, for all profiles, a partnership with one or two specialized recruiters for particular profiles and lastly, various co-operations of a more varying nature. Naturally, multiple answers are possible. Companies with only one type of profile that go into a partnership are counted as having partnerships for specific profiles. Relationship N Partnership with 1/2 recruiters for all profiles 13 Partnership with 1/2 recruiters for specific 87 profiles Varying collaborations 78 Other 17 Table 4: relationship customer-recruiter The biggest part of respondents declares going into a partnership with one or two recruiters for specific profiles, clearly much more than those who enter into a partnership for all profiles. This is visibly more than those with partnerships for all profiles. Companies that go into numerous, varying collaborations of a non-enduring nature also form a large part of all respondents combined. As was previously mentioned, a lot of companies indicated having partnerships, but also contacting other recruiters for a one-time job. Reasons can differ. Companies can prefer putting different no cure no pay agencies to work on one profile to fasten the search process, or to have a larger choice of candidates. Others might have a partnership with one specialized agency for their most recurring profiles but use another agency occasionally for more uncommon profiles. 32

35 2.4 Research question 3: Satisfaction analysis This chapter analyzes the results of the survey questions regarding customer satisfaction Recruiting IT-professionals versus recruiting IT-management Besides the division generalist-specialist, external recruiters can also be divided along those parts of the spectrum employee-executive that the agency specializes in. Certain companies prefer to turn to other recruiting agencies for higher profiles. Other companies don t see this as a necessity. Researching whether or not respondents make this distinction is necessary for the analysis of respondents satisfaction later on in this research. Same recruiter(s) for professionals and management? N % Yes ,6 No 60 36,4 Total ,0 Table 5: same recruiter(s)? General level of satisfaction Here we will detect what companies think of their collaboration with recruiters. This way, we can pinpoint the general strong and weak points of IT recruiting. Each respondent was asked to indicate his general level of satisfaction on a five-point scale, from not satisfied to very satisfied, for seven specific aspects of the recruitment service: - Turnaround time: the time in between the receiving of the assignment from the customer and the actual hiring of a candidate by the customer. - communication: between customer and recruiter. 33

36 - Quality of delivered profiles: does the recruiter deliver candidates with the right hard and soft skills, motivation, availability and match with the customer s company atmosphere? - Follow-up after hiring: does the recruiter keep in touch with candidate and customer after the actual hiring? - Quality of intake: Does the recruiter understand the customer s company culture and the content of the position to fill. - Guidance of candidates: Where, when and how does the recruiter approach candidates? How does he guide them through the process of screening, solicitation and hiring? - Price: Does the recruiting fee reflect the quality of the delivered service? Respondents who indicated contacting different agencies depending on the profile (professionalmanagement), were asked to rate the seven aspects twice. As to the identity of the rated agencies, respondents were never asked to rate specific recruiters they worked with. Such an approach wouldn t only discourage those companies with more than four recruiters, but would also make the respondents question the anonymity of the survey. That s why respondents were asked to rate the overall collaboration with their recruiters in general. Below are listed the seven aspects, each with a chart indicating the levels of satisfaction. 34

37 a. Turnaround time IT professionals IT management Both Figure 9: Satisfaction: turnaround time In the above chart, and all charts to follow about customer satisfaction, the amount of responses per level of satisfaction is shown, for the recruitment IT professionals and IT management separately and for the recruitment of both profiles together. The turnaround time shows an overall moderately good score, with most of the respondents claiming they are satisfied. For every group, less than 20% claims to be not or little satisfied. In all, the respondents who use the same agencies for professionals and management claim to be the most satisfied. 35

38 b. Communication IT professionals IT management Both Figure 10: Satisfaction: communication Communication seems to be even more satisfactoy than the turnaround time. A fraction of the responses show dissatisfaction and yet again, the respondents who use the same agencies for both profiles are the most satisfied. Differences in satisfaction of professionals and management separately are very small. c. Profile quality IT professionals IT management Both Figure 11: Satisfaction: profile quality This chart is clearly not as unilateral as the one about communication. Although still a fraction of all responses show dissatisfaction, there is a slight difference in between groups. Management 36

39 recruiting gets a very good score, with high levels of satisfaction. Recruitment of IT professionals and recruitment of both profiles both show more moderation. But all in all, customers are rather satisfied about the quality of the delivered profiles. d. Follow-up after hiring IT professionals IT management Both Figure 12: Satisfaction: follow-up As opposed to the graph about the aspect of communication, this one shows a lot more dispersion along the axis of satisfaction. Although management recruiting and recruiting of both profiles still manage to achieve a moderate level of satisfaction, recruiting of professional recruiting shows a lot of dissatisfaction, in all the lowest score in the analysis. 37

40 e. Intake quality IT professionals IT management Both Figure 13: Satisfaction: intake Intake quality shows an overall high level of satisfaction for all three groups. f. Candidate guidance IT professionals IT management Both Figure 14: Satisfaction: guidance Yet again, recruitment of IT professionals shows a remarkable difference in satisfaction. As for the other groups, respondents are mostly satisfied. Most respondents claim to be satisfied, for IT management and for both profiles. As for professionals, there is nearly as much moderate satisfaction as there is satisfaction among respondents. 38

41 g. Price Professionals management Both 5 0 not satisfied little satisfied moderately satisfied satisfied highly satisfied Figure 15: Satisfaction: price As often times before, money is a source of irritation. Both three groups show rather high levels of dissatisfaction. Even recruitment of both profiles, which had a big advantage in other aspects, also shows low levels of satisfaction regarding price. Average 4,5 4 3,5 3 2,5 2 1,5 1 0,5 0 IT professionals IT management Together Figure 16: Satisfaction: average per aspect The above graph shows the average level of satisfaction for every group and for every aspect. The numbers on the vertical axis represents the levels of satisfaction, with one being not satisfied, two being little satisfied etcetera. Although this graph is not able to show the dispersion of answers 39

42 along the axis of satisfaction, it still gives a clear general view of the satisfaction. It gives us the possibility to compare each individual aspect to the others to notice strong and weak points. A first observation is the clear lead recruitment of both profiles shows with every aspect, with the exception of price and profile quality. Respondents who use the same recruiters for both profiles tend to be more satisfied about most aspects of their collaboration. Both profiles % Generalist partner % Specialized % Various partner collaborations N Total 7,6 55,2 37,1 105 Professionalsmgmt separate 6,8 39,7 53,4 Table 6: Link hiring both profiles- professional relationship 73 As the graph above shows, respondents who don t use the same recruiter(s) for professional and management recruiting initiate significantly more co-operations of a non-recurring nature. Using the same agency to recruit both profiles can be related to a higher level of satisfaction. Moreover, the difference in satisfaction between the recruiting of both profiles and the other two groups seems to manifest itself the most in those aspects more related to the service itself: Communication, followup and guidance. Although the product of the recruitment service is of course the quality of the provided candidates, the biggest differences are in those aspects that give the co-operation a more customer friendly feeling. Conclusion To measure the satisfaction, we divided respondents into two groups and asked to rate seven important aspects of the recruitment service. A first important observation was a clear difference between one group of respondents and the other two, in terms of satisfaction. Respondents who use the same agencies to recruit both IT professionals and IT management profiles tend to show a higher level of satisfaction. Interestingly, this difference manifests itself most in those aspects more related to the service provision itself: follow-up, candidate guidance and communication. Of course, satisfaction doesn t play the only role in whether or not respondents recruit both profiles through the same agencies or not, but clearly it seems influence the decision. 40

43 A second observation is that some aspects get a lower score than other ones. Apparently, there are some general weak points among recruiters. Aspects that show a high level of satisfaction are communication and the quality of the intake. They show high average scores for all three groups. As opposed to these strong points, we see a number of aspects that respondents are clearly not that satisfied about. The two most obvious ones are the aspect of price, and the aspect of the follow-up after hiring. The latter aspect has the lowest score with IT professional recruitment separately Research question 4: respondents priorities in the co-operation with a recruiter. Here we investigate where priorities lie for customers. Of course, these are different for every respondent. However, by asking them which three aspects they find most important in the cooperation with a recruiter, we can form a clearer view: All the answers to the questions were processed in a word cloud: the bigger the font, the more frequent an aspect was mentioned by respondents. Figure 17: Word cloud priorities 41

44 This word cloud clearly visualizes what respondents find most important about the recruitment service. What immediately catches the eye, is the quality of the delivered profiles. customers expect an adequate candidate, who not only meets technical requirements, but also matches the wanted profile and the company culture on a personal and interpersonal level. Communication, another important aspect, has to be honest, towards the customer and towards the candidate, but also has to have a personal touch. Price is a third aspect that is clearly visible, together with turnaround time, two important facets of the co-operation. A company makes use of a recruitment agency for the added value it can offer. Customers calculate that the sum invested in external recruiting is still less than the cost of a longterm vacancy in the company. They then of course expect a return on investment, with a short turnaround time and a low price. Knowledge of the sector has a slightly smaller font, implying a smaller number of respondents found it of most importance. As was concluded in research question 2, most customers prefer a more durable partnership relation. A sound insight in the IT market is considered a requirement for a more intimate professional relationship. Even smaller, but still visible, is the quality of the intake. Like a sound knowledge of the sector, a good intake is a requisite to find a suitable candidate. The customer expects a good recruiter to do his homework, as in to understand the company culture and the profile requirements. The recruiter does not only have to understand what the customer wants, but also what the customer actually needs. He thus has to keep a critical attitude. In conclusion, four aspects of the recruitment service were mentionned the most by respondents: the price, quality of delivered profiles, turnaround-time and the communication towards customer and candidate. 42

45 2.6 Research question 5: Future recruiting Lastly, we look at the future market for IT recruitment. A final question asked respondents if they would make more use of recruitment agencies or less. In their capacity of recruitment managers, the respondents often have the best insight in this matter. Future N % More 30 14,2 Less 48 22,6 The same 103 ammount 48,6 No idea 31 14,6 Total Table 7: Future recruiting This table is rather pessimistic for recruitment agencies. A minority of respondents claim to make more use of recruiters in the future. Luckily, half of them think to externalize as much as before. Recruiting is still pricy, and as was shown in the word cloud, and the satisfaction analysis, most of the respondents found price a major issue. 22% of respondents will cut down on use of external recruiters and fill vacancies internally. 43

46 Part three: Recommendations for recruiters In this part of the research, a number of recommendations is given for the recruitment of IT profiles, based on the insights we obtained from the analysis of the results in part two of the research. For the sequence of these recommendations, we rely on the ranking of the survey questions, on which the whole order of the research relies as well. 3.1 Top of mind awareness Of course being top of mind is an interesting position. Customers and prospects are more likely to contact the agencies they think of first. There are some ways to increase top of mind awareness 47 : - Being the favorite by consistent quality service provision. The disadvantage here is a slow build-up of the top of mind awareness with prospects. - Negative top of mind awareness by poor service. Of course this is not the desired form of fame. - Selective and thoughtful exposure. This is the quickest and most effective way to increase brand and top of mind awareness. The company is not dependent on the word-of-mouth advertising by satisfied customers, but can itself raise the awareness, by choosing how and in what context a company makes itself visible. This way, top of mind awareness can be increased in a proactive and controlled manner. To raise its top of mind awareness, a company thus has to rely on its own initiatives. 2.2 showed the common denominator among the agencies with the highest top of mind awareness was mainly their focus on IT profiles. Also, the word cloud in 2.4 showed knowledge of the IT sector was one of the capacities respondents deemed most important. We can put these observations to good use here: in order to raise top of mind awareness, a recruitment agency should 47 Wheeler, Brandy. 4 Marketing Tricks to Achieve Top of Mind Awareness. Link: consulted on 15/7/

47 make its focus and expertise in IT obvious, to customers and prospects, whether it is a specialist or a generalist. This can be done in a number of ways: Events and sponsoring Being physically present to customers and prospects in one way or another can raise awareness. Organizing or sponsoring an event enables a company to actively choose when, where and in what context the brand name is made visible, and the target is to put the company name in a context that underlines the company s knowledge of its profession. Of course, there are a lot of possible events one can organize to raise the association with their own expertise. Some examples are: - Job fairs: Impress candidates and companies with a customized, professional job stand - Readings: Invite interesting people to give insightful readings to customers, prospects and/or candidates about the IT and/or HR market. 45

48 - Workshops: Organize a workshop for candidates and/or young graduates to fine-tune certain IT skills. Such events are a great way to raise top of mind awareness. First of all, the engagement of the participants in the company is raised: a personal experience always creates a stronger association. Secondly, the company can choose who to invite (except for the job fairs). This way, you can choose what customers or prospects are involved. Thirdly, the invitees can be shown that the company does more than only recruiting: it also keeps on improving its skills and expanding its knowledge about its sector. Invitees can experience the company s efforts and mindset first-handedly. Online Events and sponsoring are not the only way to increase the association between a company and its expertise in IT recruiting. The internet provides a lot of options as well. - Social media: Facebook and Twitter Social media are great ways to communicate with candidates, and to show what vacancies are available. For example a tweet by Computer Futures 48 : But social media are more than just another job board. They are in fact a great way to show the world your area of expertise. The following example is a tweet by the UK branch of the international recruitment agency Hudson 49 : 48 https://twitter.com/computerfutures, consulted on 1/8/

49 Hudson tweets about an interesting HR related research on its website. By doing this, not only does the firm generate more visitors on the website, but also shows its followers that it puts effort in being informed and up-to-date. This last tweet by Hudson 50 shows a third way to use social media. This tweet informs people about Hudson s presence at a job fair. This is of course related to organizing/ sponsoring events. This way, a company can inform people online about its interesting events. Social media can thus be a phenomenal help in creating a lasting association between a company and its excellence and expertise in its field. Other than just informing followers about vacant positions, a company can post or tweet interesting links or promote events. - Company website The own website is obviously the most important online platform. Like social media, this should also be used to showcase the company s expertise and knowledge. Like Amon s website blog 51 : 49 https://twitter.com/rec_uk_hudson, consulted on 1/8/ https://twitter.com/rec_uk_hudson, consulted on 1/8/ consulted on 1/8/

50 Or Huxley s Insights 52 : Social media can also be used to attract more visitors, as Hudson s second tweet demonstrates (cf. supra). But generating more visitors can also be done through more effective and proactive ways, like search engine advertising(sea) 53 : it is possible to let your website appear as an ad alongside the normal search results for specific search queries. Another option is SEO 54, or search engine optimization. This enables your website to appear in the top results for a specific query. 52 consulted on 1/8/ consulted on 1/8/ consulted on 1/8/

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