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Global – Towers Watson study outlines the new geography of talent

27 November 2012

Businesses around the world are currently experiencing a profound market shift that will impact the supply and demand for skilled talent over the next decade, according to a detailed research study conducted by Oxford Economics in partnership with professional services company Towers Watson.

The underlying forces that survey participants believe will have the biggest impact on their organizations' talent requirements in the years ahead are diverse — from advances in technology (42%), to globalization (41%) and shifts in labour demographics (38%), to customer needs (38%) and competition (38%).

The vast majority of companies are undertaking transformation initiatives to rethink their global strategies, business models and organizational approaches as a result of rapid shifts in the marketplace — 41% have recently completed such an initiative or are currently undergoing one, and another 47% are preparing to do so.

This business transformation requires a "reskilling" of employees across all levels of employment. According to the study, the four broad areas where skills will be in greatest demand include: digital skills; agile thinking; interpersonal and communication skills; and global operating skills.

Organizations must prepare for long-term, permanent structural shifts in demand for labour, with the demand for workers most pronounced in emerging markets. The most dramatic jump in demand will be in emerging Asia, where the need for new employees will rise 22%. Other emerging markets will see above-average growth in demand including Latin America (13%), Middle East/Africa (13%) and Eastern Europe (10%).

The study includes information from a global survey of 352 human resource professionals, two-thirds of whom were chief human resource officers and senior vice presidents or vice presidents of HR. It also draws on a wide range of data and analytical sources.

To download a copy of the executive summary, click here.

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