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E-Recruiting in Europe: Microcosm of Globalization?

by
Yves Lermusi
Oct 30, 2001

Europe is merging into a single, unified market, with goods, capital and labor freely flowing across national boundaries. Political and economic integration in Europe has made it possible to look beyond the immediate surroundings for the best goods, services and opportunities. The transition Europe is undergoing is coinciding with the advent of another border transcending phenomenon, the Internet. European Internet Use Significant and increasing numbers of Europeans are using the Internet. For September 2001, the percentages of the population with access to the Internet, by European country, are as follows:

Sweden 64%
Netherlands 56%
Denmark 55%
UK 55%
Norway 54%
Finland 38%
Germany 35%
Italy 34%
France 19%

Source: Nielsen NetRatings In comparison, the percentage of Internet access in the United States is 61%. Only Sweden has a higher percentage; a number of other European countries are approaching a rate comparable to the U.S. Corporate Website Recruiting in Europe One response by the top corporations in Europe to an increasingly mobile and increasingly wired European workforce is to use the corporate website as a tool for attracting and acquiring talent. iLogos Research recently performed a study to assess the corporate Careers website practices of the largest European companies. As reported in Best Practices for European 500 Career Web Site Recruiting, among the 500 largest European companies by revenue (“The European 500″):

  • 76% have a Careers section on the corporate website
  • 55% post job positions on the Careers section of the corporate website
  • 52% post job positions and accept online job applications on the website

In the coming years, more European corporations will certainly take advantage of the cost savings afforded by the greater efficiency of corporate Web site recruiting. Yet there are important distinctions that pertain both to European companies and to companies with operations in Europe. Privacy Corporate website recruiting in Europe has to meet two challenges unique to that region. The first challenge is to ensure that the company’s recruiting activities meet legal requirements as set out in consumer privacy protection laws. European countries have among the toughest laws for protecting online privacy. The European Union Privacy Directive, which took effect on October 25, 1998, sets the minimum standard for privacy protection in all European Union countries. The top 500 European companies are only beginning to comply with the principles of the EU Privacy Directive, with 22% of the European 500 currently stating a privacy policy on the corporate Careers website. French corporations in the European 500 take online privacy most seriously, with 41% of that group of companies providing jobseekers with a privacy policy statement on the Careers Web site. Adherence by the European 500 to online privacy principles is lowest in Germany, with only 6% of German corporations in the top 500 companies in Europe declaring a privacy policy on the Careers Web site. Language The second challenge to corporate website recruiting in Europe is to address the diverse language requirements of the job seeking audience. To reach the widest audience possible, many corporations are supporting several languages on the corporate Careers website. This is particularly true of the corporations with multiple locations in Europe. A Careers website that supports multiple European languages typically:

  • has a clear interface design for selecting between the supported languages
  • maintains all recruiting material related to company employment culture in multiple languages
  • posts job announcements in multiple languages
  • allows jobseekers to apply online in their choice of language, with Resume or CV Builders localized for each language supported

Thirty percent of the top 500 European companies offer a Careers website in more than one language. Of the bilingual Careers websites, the two most common language combinations are English/French and English/German. English is the common language of all Careers websites that support three or four languages. Global Trends E-recruiting in Europe spans multiple jurisdictions, languages and cultures. In many ways, the political and economic unification in Europe is a microcosm of the worldwide globalization trend. Global corporations are faced with similar cultural and legal issues. The need for corporations in Europe to become more sensitive to the protection of consumer privacy and the importance of addressing linguistic diversity are two trends that will spread to all global corporations.

This article is provided for informational purposes only and is not intended to offer specific legal advice. You should consult your legal counsel regarding any threatened or pending litigation.

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