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Branding Nations and Attracting International Talent – A case study comparing Finland and the Netherlands

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Title: Branding Nations and Attracting International Talent – A case study comparing Finland and the Netherlands
Author(s): Etola, Sanna
Contributor: University of Helsinki, Faculty of Arts
Degree program: Master's Programme in Intercultural Encounters
Specialisation: Humanities Track
Language: English
Acceptance year: 2022
Encouraging work-based immigration as well as international talent attraction and retention are high on the agenda of many national governments. This master’s thesis analyses the intersection of nation branding and international talent mobility by exploring the ways in which the nation brand is directed towards talent attraction and the vision drivers and themes that are communicated in nation branding documents and on international talent attraction websites of Finland and the Netherlands. In addition to reviewing relevant literature on nation branding, international talent attraction and retention, this thesis provides the case study contexts of Finland and the Netherlands by describing the local policies and the administrative processes regarding work and residence permits. Contextualizing the study is important to understand the local premise and the reality behind the communication. The empirical research material of this thesis consists of Finnish and Dutch nation branding documents and international talent attraction platforms, publicly available online. The material is interpreted utilizing qualitative, theory-driven thematic analysis. The thesis’ empirical analysis is based on Silvanto and Ryan’s (2014) strategic framework for relocation branding and international talent attraction, and the 936 identified empirical data extracts are coded according to their five vision drivers, the preliminary themes for the analysis. The research findings indicate that issues relating to innovation, career opportunities and quality of life in host nations are emphasized in nation branding and international talent attraction communication, while immigration policies receive substantially more limited attention. As a conclusion, Silvanto and Ryan’s (2014) framework is modified to better reflect the contents of the communication. In the light of this thesis’ Finnish and Dutch research material, the following modified and renamed vision drivers seem to be relevant for building an attractive relocation brand: Innovation, competitiveness and career opportunities; Cultural diversity and inclusiveness; Clear immigration policies, services and incentives; Concentration of talent, co-operation, (ethnic) and expatriate networks; and Quality of life and lifestyle.
Keyword(s): nation branding international talent attraction and retention relocation branding

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