The War for Talent Crosses the Ocean


The problem is global. Whether you are seeking talent in the United States, Asia, South America or Europe “employers are being inundated with unsuitable candidates and struggling to fill vacancies, and talented individuals are staying put, concluding that the grass is greener on their own side of the fence in these volatile economic times,” according to a June 16 article in Talent Magazine.

United Kingdom findings reported in the annual Chartered Institute of Personnel and Development (CIPD) Resourcing and Talent Planning survey, produced in partnership with Hays, show that:

  • Three-quarters (73 percent) of organizations have experienced an increase in the number of unsuitable candidates for job vacancies, fueled by the increase in application numbers due to high levels of unemployment.
  • More than half of employers (52 percent) say competition for talent is even greater today, compared to 41 percent and 20 percent in 2010 and 2009 respectively.
  • This year, 75 percent of organizations experienced recruitment difficulties.
  • In previous years, the main reason for these difficulties is a lack of necessary specialist or technical skills (72 percent compared to 67 percent in 2010), with managers and professionals and technical positions (28 percent) the most difficult to fill.

This survey echos the ManpowerGroup Survey done earlier this year that reported that one in three employers globally experience difficulty filling jobs due to lack of available talent, the highest percentage since before the recession in 2007.

Why is this happening in the UK and around the globe?

According to the article, “One clear contributing factor to the talent shortage is that those who are employed are reluctant to leave in a volatile market. The median turnover rate has remained consistently low throughout the recession and beyond from 17.3 percent in 2008 to 12.5 percent in 2010.

“Not surprisingly, the rate of voluntary leavers has increased slightly in the private sector (8.7 percent in 2011, compared to 7.4 percent in 2010) but decreased in the voluntary (7 percent in 2011, compared to 10.2 percent in 2010) and public sector services (3.4 percent in 2011, compared to 5.8 percent in 2010), reflecting the government’s austerity program.”

This doesn’t mean these employees are happy, engaged and productive — it just means they are scared to leave current jobs during uncertain economic times.

What can you do?

Spice it up and re-engage.

If you know your existing talent pool is restless, or even disengaged, it is your job to create talent programs and initiatives that spice up the work and re-engage employees.  “The ‘war for talent’ is not just a numbers game — it means finding, retaining and motivating employees whose skills fit the company’s strategy,” said Ed Boswell, U.S. Advisory People and Change practice leader at PwC, in a recent Talent Management article . “As the economy is gradually showing signs of improvement, companies are putting their emphasis on their people.”

Change your focus.

Change your focus to the talent side of the business. Make talent development a priority — It’s important so that employee and organizational growth and development become a strategic initiative. Start this process by ensuring the Chief Learning Officer has a seat at the table. This is especially critical with global organizations facing significant recruiting and retention challenges, like those referenced by Bill Owens, Global and U.S. leader of PwC’s International Assignment Services practice.

Innovation is key.

That’s where WOW! transformations innovative approach of beyondboarding™ comes into play.  At WOW!, we help organizations create a company culture that nurtures employees throughout their career with them. This begins with an understanding of what’s needed when selecting new talent, continues through the hiring process, and for the duration of the employees’ service to the company.  Retaining your best employees during these volatile times takes innovative programs and initiatives to that focus on talent as key to your organization’s success.

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