Almost two decades after a McKinsey study first coined the term ‘war for talent’, how are the battle lines for global talent management moving amid rising employment, flatter hierarchies, international talent pools, skills shortages, and multigenerational workforces?
The war for talent, as originally outlined in the 1997 paper reporting a year-long McKinsey study, described talent – people who are technologically literate, globally astute and operationally agile – as the most important corporate resource over the next 20 years, thanks to demographic change and knowledge intensive work.
Nearly 20 years on, these ideas still hold sway. After two tumultuous decades of disruptive technologies, increasing competition, and rapidly evolving new sectors and economies, people ultimately create competitive advantage. Yet most economies the world over still face a shortage of people with the right skills.
Manpower Group’s 2015 Talent Shortage Survey found that 38 per cent of 41,000 hiring managers in 42 countries had problems filling jobs – a two percentage-point rise from 2014 and the highest rate since 2007. For around three quarters of employers in the survey, the battle to hire workers was due to candidates’ lack of experience, skills or knowledge.