Friday 20 April 2012

Challenges and Opportunities for Talent Managers / 2: Creating Value


   Right, well I’d half-started a series of posts on talent management (see ‘the truth about talent’) which I’d better complete… and rather than turning this into something that I’ll never get done, I’m just going to summarise a couple of the latest inputs on talent management which have caught my interest.

So for example, there’s PwC’s recent CEO survey which always provides useful insight and that comments:

“Theoretically, finding a good candidate to fill a position should now be a very straightforward exercise. There have never been as many educated people in the world, nor has it ever been as simple for employers to tap this vast pool online. Highly skilled talent is also highly mobile; but just in case, networking advances also mean that many more tasks can be handled remotely or outsourced.

The reality is far different. A Chinese automaker attends job fairs in Germany, even though China produces large numbers of graduate engineers each year. High jobless rates persist in the US and Europe, disproportionately among the young, even as businesses fret that they cannot attract the digitally adept ‘Millennial’ generation to pursue careers in their industries. Too many well-educated citizens of the Middle East and elsewhere are not in the workforce at all. ‘Before, people looked for jobs. Now, companies look for talent,’ said Erdal Karamercan,

-   President and CEO of Eczacibasi Group A S.”


I am therefore a bit confused by one of the results in the survey which is that unavailability of key skills has dropped once again as a key threat to business growth prospects (loosing the gains from 2009 and falling back again to 2009 / 2010 levels, having been reported as the very top threat to business growth in 2008 and before). Particularly as:

  • One in four CEOs said they were unable to pursue a market opportunity or have had to cancel or delay a strategic initiative because of a lack of talent.
  • One in three is concerned that skills shortages impacted their company’s ability to innovate effectively.


However, there is at least some powerful evidence of firms focusing on smart talent management approaches to deal with the challenge, however significant this is seen. 23% of CEOs surveyed expect ‘major change’ to the way they manage their talent.

There’s also evidence of firms putting their people at the centre of their business strategy, rather than just as means to execute it (creating rather than just adding value):

“CEOs are determined to be more strategic in the way they manage their workforce today and plan for future needs. Up to now, an assumption has held that the market analysis element of a strategic plan is paramount, and how a business ‘resources up’ to meet the plan is something that’s worked out later. Now, leading businesses are looking beyond the next budget round to plan talent needs. A longer-term strategic view is needed, if they want to close the gap today and map how talent needs will change.”

eg: Marijn Dekkers, Chairman, Bayer AG:

”But what is interesting and what is changing is that among Western companies, the ability to hire, develop and retain talent in the developing economies has become a major point of competitive differentiation.”

It’s because talent is so central to competitive success, that I think business management needs to focus on talent (not talent management on business).


I’ll be continuing to post on challenges and opportunities for heads of talent next week.  And I’ll also be describing how you (internal practitioners only, sorry) can win a ticket to the Economist’s Talent Management conference this June, where I’ll be chairing one of the panel sessions, and am once again the sole official blogging partner too.



  • Consulting - Research - Speaking  - Training -  Writing
  • Strategy  -  Talent  -  Engagement  -  Change and OD
  • Contact  me to  create more  value for  your business
  • jon  [dot] ingham [at] strategic [dash] hcm [dot] com


1 comment:

  1. What you say here is true. True talent is hard to find, but once you find one, you will not be sorry. Make sure you know how to take care of the real talents, though.


Please add your comment here (email me your comments if you have trouble and I will put them up for you)