Industry-Specific Takeaways: The Top 100 Fortune 500 Employment Brands

WilsonHCG’s 2018 Fortune 500 Top 100 Employment Brands report is now live, featuring tens of thousands of data points, thought leadership from leading Fortune 500s and industry-specific analysis. Each of our six grading categories collectively factor into what makes a company stand out as a “great place to work” – which, ultimately, is what employment branding is all about; what matters most to the candidate and employees, and incites them to act (join, leave or stay). Regarding our industry-specific analysis, there were some eye-opening results in 2018.

Throughout our fourth annual report, we emphasize and highlight the six industries that hold the most Fortune 500 organizations:

  • Industrial Machinery
  • Pharmaceuticals
  • Hotels, Casinos, and Resorts
  • Computer Software
  • Health Care: Insurance and Managed Care (Health Care)
  • Information Technology (IT) Services.

In addition to delving into the performance and rankings of Fortune 500s across all industries, we follow these six industries throughout the report – seeking to provide insight into the nuances of each industry, where they’re leading and have room for improvement. Below is a closer look at how each of these six industries performed overall and in comparison to one another.

Career Pages
Each of the six industries performed relatively similar in the Career Pages category, with Health Care outpacing the other five sectors with a 17/23 point average. In carefully evaluating each Fortune 500’s employment brand, we’ve found that today’s employees – of all generations – are seeking careers, not jobs. The research shows that top performers recognize this and are thus relying on the use of the term “career” over “job” throughout their career pages, then promoting to visiting candidates what a “career” at Company X will look like.

Specifically, leading companies are offering and adeptly marketing “careers” that matter; careers that are rewarding, flexible, and full of growth and opportunity. For example, by carefully and articulately sharing career paths. They’re also enhancing the candidate experience by authentically conveying company culture and using their career pages as a platform to empower the voices of their workforces.

Job Boards
According to Jobvite’s 2017 Recruiting Funnel Benchmark Report, approximately 52 percent of “applicants” still come from job boards – indicating that, while strategic talent acquisition often relies on more qualitative modes of attracting and engaging talent  candidates themselves still heavily rely on job boards for insight into open roles, growth opportunities and your mission/vision. Job Boards is but one of six employment branding categories in our methodology – carrying a weight of just 7 points as we recognize that categories such as Employee Reviews & Engagement and Career Pages factor more heavily into employment branding’s collective quality.

The Computer Software sector (3/7 point average) appears to be lagging behind. This is perhaps because this industry seeks and requires more specialized, niche talent; therefore, requiring more targeted recruitment. However, the story in this category is analytics. Leading Fortune 500s, including Health Care, Pharmaceuticals and Industrial Machinery (6/8 point averages), are making smart use of advanced technologies such as programmatic recruitment advertising to tailor job board usage and assist in analytics. This, in turn, creates efficiencies, targeted postings and greater return.

Employee Reviews & Engagement
The Computer Software (27/35 point average), Industrial Machinery (26), Hotels, Casinos, Resorts (26) and Pharmaceuticals (26) industries all performed near the top of all industries in the Employee Reviews & Engagement category. Most encouraging in each industry is the continued rise in investment specific to employee engagement. The research shows that companies recognize talent’s willingness to move, and move quickly. In response, leading Fortune 500s are providing more timely responses to constructive feedback, genuine engagement initiatives, leadership accessibility and, though seemingly simple, by listening to candide and employee desires, concerns and goals before acting.

Accolades that illustrate diversity initiatives, empowering female leaders, philanthropic campaigns and unique workplace cultures, to name just a few examples, can provide a unique and insightful perspective for candidates. For the 2018 Accolades category, we reduced the overall weight (from 11 points to 8). Make no mistake, this category holds importance – however, accolades are often more of a recruitment marketing resource that supplements other aspects of employment branding and catches candidate eyes than a deciding factor.

There were no perfect scores in the Accolades category. The Hotels, Casino, Resorts industry averaged 4/8 points. Industrial Machinery performed the lowest, averaging just 1/8. In fact, the top 100 Fortune 500 companies scored 805 percent better than the bottom 100 in the Accolades category. The biggest indication from the research is that there is significant opportunity for improvement across all industries. Leading companies are building an integrated partnership with Marketing; making certain there is an awards strategy in place; and that impactful awards are shared through PR, intranet platforms, social media and company pages.

Recruitment Marketing
Our research shows that, collectively, all industries have significant room for improvement. Of note, Industrial Machinery, Computer Software and IT Services averaged 8-9 points out of 17 total, with Hotels, Casinos, Resorts and Pharmaceuticals averaging just 6/17 points. Fortune 500s paving the way in the Recruitment Marketing category are adopting strategies and technologies from Marketing (and partnering directly with Marketing) – including emotionally resonating brand messaging, SEO, mobile optimization, automated and scheduled yet personalized lead generation, and nurture campaigns.

“Data-driven brands constantly iterate by capturing employee insights to create meaningful connections between employers, prospects and employees – because they dare to get at what’s authentic and what resonates with different audiences. There is no ‘one size fits all’ when it comes to employer brand, arguably the trickiest part of recruitment marketing. If done right, the more specific, the better!”
Lisa Cervenka, Employer Brand Evangelist, The Muse 
to WilsonHCG

Corporate Social Responsibility & Recruitment Initiatives
Thirty-seven percent of all Fortune 500s scored 4/9 points or less in the Corporate Social Responsibility category. Looking industry by industry, Health Care, IT Services and Pharmaceuticals averaged between 6-7 points. Leading Fortune 500s recognize that professionals within these industries are often invested in important causes. In turn, they are investing in causes and recruitment initiatives that matter – such as diversity and inclusion, gender equality, veteran recruitment, corporate ethics and community outreach – then empowering their people to participate.

Ultimately, leading Fortune 500s recognize that, to candidates, “popular” doesn’t always equal a great employment brand, and that PR strategy cannot compensate for HR or talent acquisition strategy. Candidates are smarter and more equipped than at any time in history; they’re doing their homework and selecting companies that align with what matters most to them. Authenticity, transparency and, from here, employment brand and bottom line alignment are differentiating the best employment brands regardless of industry and/or company size. 

WilsonHCG's 2018 Fortune 500 Top 100 Employment Brands Report

Employer Branding Talent Strategy

WilsonHCG Research Institute®

At WilsonHCG, we believe it’s important to help our clients understand the trends affecting the human capital industry today, and to help them prepare for what will happen tomorrow. We founded the WilsonHCG Research Institute® to look at new developments and emerging trends, and to explain what they mean to your organization.