To source or not to source in Europe? The European sourcing box opened

30% of the Europeans has been hunted in the last quarter

In comparison to the US or the UK, we see that the direct searching and sourcing approach is not as common in all the main land Europe countries as recruiters from outside Europe (and also within Europe) might think. Based on The Global Talent Acquisition Monitor (GTAM) 2018 from Intelligence Group, we see very interesting differences. As metrics we use the amount of workforce that has been approached in the last quarter by an inhouse or commercial recruiter. This metric is called ‘sourcing pressure’.

The highest sourcing pressure is measured in the Czech Republic. Almost half of the workforce (44%) has been approached in the second quarter of 2018. If you compare this with Greece and Norway, only 19% has been approached. By average, 30% of the European labour force is being hunted by a corporate or inhouse recruiter in the second quarter of 2018.


There is a lot to say about sourcing and sourcing pressure. In the Netherlands sourcing pressure per target group is the best indicator of scarcity in the labour market. But if you look at Germany, one of the most difficult labour markets of Europe with extreme low unemployment and only 100km to the East of the Netherlands, you see that sourcing is not yet a main stream recruitment strategy. All German speaking countries do not have a sourcing tradition, and this is almost a green field for sourcers. Almost... In the German culture the direct approach is still not common, so extra rules for engagement should be taken into consideration.

If we go further east, for example in Poland, Ukraine, Czech Republic and Romania, we see a far more developed sourcing environment. That is the result of not having the legacy of employer branding and recruitment marketing within the HR and Communications department from the eighties and nineties. Recruitment just skipped this part and started sourcing when Internet and social media came along.

In the south of Europe, we see another dynamic. There is more unemployment, especially in Spain, Italy and Greece, and less affinity with sourcing. Besides the unemployment, we see that this labour market works much more on referral and informal networks. When we made a correlation between the power of informal networks and sourcing power, we see some thin evidence that the higher the sourcing pressure, the lower the importance of the informal network. Sourcing gives a more equal playing field for talent and especially in countries in the South, chances to young talent. The power of the informal networks in the south of Europe is one of the main reasons for the high unemployment among youngsters.

Sourcing is often associated with LinkedIn. By average in Europe this is the most used and powerful sourcing tool. But, this differs in every country. In Germany for example, XING dominates in the biggest labour market of Europa. So, the sourcing market in Europe differs from starting to mature, from culturally accepted to not-accepted, from informal networks to social media and from a direct to an indirect approach. Not forgetting to mention that the media that is being used, differs per country. And then we did not even start ‘talking’ about the rules of engagement and ethics in approaching. Knowing if it’s appropriate to call, chat or mail is one, but also knowing about what kind of topics you should talk not about as a recruiter, is something else. This kind of European Recruitment Intelligence is available in the European Recruitment Dashboard. Knowing these insights, gives a lot of opportunities and saves you from obvious pitfalls.

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