Above: David Bearfield and Claudine Camilleri speaking at the EACD panel discussion on Employer branding in the Brussels bubble: What can communicators do to attract talent for their organisations?

Like many organisations, we will be experiencing in the years to come an unprecedented change in the structure of the EU workforce: a vast number of seasoned staff members will retire and be replaced by the next generations. By 2020, millennials will make up over a third of the global workforce (ManpowerGroup 2016).

It is clear that the key to success in our rapidly changing world and the race to attract the best talent is to stay in the lead. That's why in 2017 EPSO decided to prepare proactively for the generational shift that lies ahead by refreshing the EU Careers brand.

Attracting millennials and the iGeneration is a challenging task, as we are competing with national administrations, international organisations as well as the most innovative companies around the world. The next generations prefer a flat corporate culture, emphasise work-life balance, are socially conscious and like to contribute to a cause. While the European institutions are different to the likes of corporate giants such as Apple and Google, we stand out when it comes to the noble vision of the European project: in that way, we are unique. That is why the higher purpose of serving over 500 million EU citizens formed the heart and essence of our Employee Value Proposition (EVP).

Reaching beyond the Brussels bubble

Despite a certain cynicism about governmental structures in general, an EU career is still an attractive choice for many. On average, EPSO handles 70,000 applications for 1,500 positions yearly. But are these candidates always the right ones? Do they possess the motivation and skillset to shape the Europe of tomorrow? 

All organisations need to renew and develop themselves. The aim of our branding work was to describe why someone would work for the EU. The aspiration is to convey the message that the complex challenges the EU is facing demand the best of us. Our organisation forms a community of expertise that allows staff to enhance their skills and develop their career. The working environment respects cultural diversity and promotion of equal opportunities. In other words, we strive to be the employer of choice.

We are continuously working on reaching a much wider selection of talent than those currently "in the know". For this purpose EPSO created the Student Ambassador Programme that helps young motivated students to promote EU Careers on their university campuses across Europe. We also encourage EU staff to voice their opinion and act as employee advocates. To bring their stories to life we have extended our activity on social media and will be launching a series of videos in the coming months. 

Consistency is crucial in managing the employment brand experience. The brand promise needs to stay consistent throughout the recruitment process and working life. Therefore, we will be paying attention to the implementation of our new employer branding strategy together with modernising our ways of working. The judge of that? Our current and future staff members.     

David Bearfield has been Director of the European Personnel Selection Office (EPSO) since 2007. Under his tenure, he delivered a major organisational change programme and developed a new employer branding strategy. EPSO is now recognised as a global leader in public sector recruitment practice. His 25-year experience in the public sector includes a variety of roles in the fields of HR, communication and change management.

Claudine Camilleri is a linguist and work psychologist. She has been working at EPSO for the past 5.5 years, initially as a Project Manager and member of the internal psychologists' team, then as Deputy Head in the E-Selection and Test Development Unit. In November 2015, she took up the post of Head of Unit Communication and Attractiveness and Legal Service.

European Personnel Selection Office (EPSO) is responsible for selecting staff to ten EU institutions and some of the agencies of the European Union. In 2017, EPSO won the Innovation in Recruitment Award for organising an Online Career Fair for the potential candidates of the underrepresented Member States.