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While most of the world was trying to adapt to working from home until further notice, Pfizer not only managed to invent a COVID-19 vaccine in record time, but also to continue creating new ways of engaging with potential hires face to face at Chinese universities. In order to keep improving its appeal as an employer in the country, it used the Avature platform to make the most of this strategic move.

A Year Pfizer Will Never Forget

Pfizer did not have a slow 2020. On the contrary –as one of the pharmaceuticals that took on the challenge of developing a vaccine against COVID-19, it had its fair share of work to do. And as if that feat was not enough, it also set out to attract and engage top talent in person in the few places where it was possible, as was the case in China.

According to Young China Group, there are more people under the age of 40 in this country than in North America, Europe and the Middle East combined. Given the huge portion of the population that they represent, it is no wonder that Pfizer decided to try and attract top talent at university campuses, where they could meet potential candidates face to face, a luxury that for most of 2020, was practically only possible in China.

Although public interest in pharmaceutical companies has skyrocketed during the COVID-19 pandemic, these organizations have had to develop their employer brand and position themselves as top attractive employers that capture the attention of talent that might have traditionally looked elsewhere. It cannot be denied that Pfizer was ahead of the competition in that sense, since it was already regarded as the best health/medicinal company to work at in the country. But it still needed a strategy to showcase its employer value proposition (EVP) more effectively and stand out to engage these candidates.

The plan was to catch their eye through innovative campaigns and highlight the social responsibility that is part of its EVP, which is a key factor that young people connect with. Pfizer hoped to position itself as an employer that enables students who are willing to use what they have learnt in their various programs to continue advancing human health, be that by making new, affordable medication or helping people get their COVID-19 vaccine as quickly as possible, among other improvements.

In order to do so, it hosted different types of events with three key aspects in mind:

  • Interacting with candidates that not only have excellent learning abilities, but who also show a willingness to stay long term.
  • Attracting and maintaining the attention of the new generation.
  • Promoting candidates’ growth alongside Pfizer.

You Only Have One Chance To Make a Good First Impression


Having these clear goals and the power of the Avature platform, Pfizer took to campuses to make the most of in-person interaction. High-tech and interactive social experiences were a key part of this engagement strategy, which even included a Mozart AI concert.

Throughout the process, the organization leveraged Avature to optimize this initiative that caught the attention of thousands of students.

Here’s what Pfizer put into effect:

  • It promoted the event on WeChat and event listings portals, as well as via email campaigns, and encouraged students to register on their customized sites.
  • It kept the potential attendees engaged through an email campaign that included a link to their WeChat podcast. The open rate of this campaign was around 65 percent.
  • The automation offered by Avature helped Pfizer simplify the registration and application processes, which freed up precious time for high-value tasks and kept things smooth for candidates.
  • On the day of the event, QR code check-in sped up this otherwise time-consuming step and allowed attendees to focus on what Pfizer had prepared for them.
  • Post-event, Pfizer was able to go further and measure how many of these leads converted into applicants and, better yet, new employees.

From seamless event registration and application, to interview and hire, everything was done on the single, well-integrated platform that is Avature.

“I have been working alongside Avature since last year, and I am really impressed by its functionalities. Avature helps the campus recruitment team effectively manage the overall flow, from promoting the events online to tracking the conversion rate of offline activities. The future is big data. To most HR organizations, a lot of the work and processes are fragmented. The Avature platform can bring them all together and track ROI, which is something I value the most.”

Nina Yuan
Senior Manager, Campus Recruitment & Employer Branding at Pfizer


Pfizer set out to continue developing its employer brand and positioning themselves as a top attractive employer that captures the attention of talent that might have not typically considered the pharma industry. It succeeded at that and even surpassed its 2020 expectations thanks to a more attractive employer brand.

In fact, in addition to successfully engaging with potential leads, they were able to determine that two of their hires were students that had attended the concert thanks to the robust Avature reporting framework.

  • As for domestic candidates, applicants from top schools accounted for more than 40 percent.
  • Regarding overseas applicants, those from high-ranking universities accounted for 30 percent.

Additionally, Pfizer also received a number of coveted industry awards, including “Best Corporate Responsibility Award”, ”“Best Social Activity Award” and “Best Brand Campus Communication Award” at the Employer Branding Creative Awards 2020, DAwards 2020 and US Best Ads.

With close to 79,000 employees and present in more than 125 countries, given the results of the strategies deployed in China, Pfizer can only keep taking these numbers higher and higher.

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