Designing competitive edge through job ads: A content analysis of

Janet Jervis, Jeff Brand

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapterResearchpeer-review


The word ‘design’ appears regularly in all types of dialogue, going far beyond traditional design disciplines. Yet an understanding of design appears dependent on the perceptions assigned by individuals across a wide and varied spectrum of professions. This paper examines the communication discourse on design across Australian businesses by analysing job listings on, a leading employment, recruitment and career portal in Australia and New Zealand. The research questions ask: (1) what design knowledge is requested by employers in their job advertisements; (2) what industries and professions are presented in the design features; and (3) whether design is acknowledged as a competitive necessity. A content analysis of 399 job listings was conducted using systematic sampling of over 15,000 listings in which the keyword ‘design’ was featured. The analysis included over 100 measures, representing eighteen variables related to the research questions. Results show only engineering job listings used the word ‘design’ in a consistent manner, indicating that design serves a competitive advantage in that field. Other disciplines or categories are not so clearly defined, indicating how the word ‘design’ is used inconsistently and for a varied range of functions, as well as being deployed more by business strategists than by marketers.

Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationDesign for business
EditorsG. Muratovski
Place of PublicationUnited Kingdom
PublisherIntellect Ltd
Number of pages21
ISBN (Print)9780646585901
Publication statusPublished - 1 Jan 2014


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