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World – Effective talent acquisition is key

27 November 2013

Executives in virtually every industry are concerned about the lack of available talent, reports the Moscow Times. Globally, the working-age population is on the decline while the number of retirees is on the rise. At the same time, low-skilled workers exceed demand while highly educated and even more importantly, properly trained are in short supply.

For the foreseeable future, it appears there will always be more buyers (employers) than there is product to buy (talent). The distance between the world's available workers and the skills that are needed is more than a gap. It's a chasm, and it's only going to get worse.

In 2012, more than one-third of employers were having difficulty finding the talent they needed. The extent to which they faced challenges varied by industry, job role, available candidates in the local labour market, as well as demographic and economic factors.

The McKinsey Global Institute recently projected that by 2030 the global economy will have as many as 40 million fewer workers with college degrees than it will need. At the same time, there may be a surplus of up to 95 million workers who lack the educational credentials employers will demand.

The competitive employers of the future will be the ones that plan for talent shortages today. Hiring needs are never static. However, even industries that traditionally need to expand or contract their workforces on demand can build a sustainable competitive workforce. Those who build the best workforces will have done so with an eye toward retaining them. After all, what good is training someone who gets poached by the competition?

In Australia, a global technology firm had difficulty filling its customer contact positions that opened up as a result of turnover. With baby boomers retiring at a fast pace, they expected the problem to intensify. The solution was found in a 12-month government-funded traineeship program focused on candidates who could acquire the near-term skills necessary, but who are also eager to learn and develop further. From the trainee's point of view, one of the key selling points of the program is the ability for trainees to receive nationally recognized certifications in Information Technology, Customer Contact or Business Administration at no cost.

The program is also seen as a clear signal of the company's commitment to their employees' futures. The result: reduced turnover, increased morale, improved productivity and a $250,000 cost savings in year one.

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