Phebean Amusan

Fierce War for Talent

In 1997, Steven Hankin of McKinsey & Company invented the phrase ‘War for Talent’. The focus was to create awareness on the need for organizations and recruiters to develop fail-proof strategies for recruiting and retaining talents at the workplace. Necessitated by rapidly changing world of work, due in part to technological advancement, the rise of the machines, automations, inventions, artificial intelligence, new inventions, etc.

In today’s world, recent happenings will intensify the war for talents, especially among organizations that want to leverage on technology to drive leading edge business growth agenda amidst global crisis. The new reality will further increase the demand for professionals with proficiency in modern technology and business intelligence.

As businesses strive to bounce back and recover from losses inflicted by the global pandemic and economic downturn, new skills will be required to serve new generation of customers and steer business operations to sustainability.

The future of workplace will not remain the same ever again and the War for Talents just took a new turn!

Here are the 4 predictions why war for talents will become fierce post-Covid 19;

1. Emerging in-demand roles:

As the world race against time to stop the global pandemic, Covid-19, ravaging the entire humanity, we are about to witness unparalleled and fierce war for exceptional and specialized talents.

Countries like the US is currently reviewing and reconsidering immigration policy, encouraging medical professionals across the world to apply for Visa under the ‘J-1 programme’ for foreign medical residents.

The buck will not stop at the health sector! This trend will continue across other sectors, industries and countries post Covid-19.

There will be astronomical progression in new inventions, disruptive technologies and rise of super intelligent machines, most especially, to prevent any future threat to world economy, business continuity, freedom of association and humanity!

More businesses and institutions will become tech-conscious and digitally-driven. Investment in sustainable technologies and digital platforms will skyrocket. Upsurge in adoption of sophisticated technology will gradually phase out mundane jobs, new skills will be required and this will give rise to emerging in-demand roles required to deliver new business capabilities.

2. Dynamic Business Environment:

The Business world is unravelling at the speed of light and the way business operates is rapidly changing at a rate that no one can keep up with.

Recent happenings have further reinforced the ‘VUCA’ characteristics of the business environment! — VolatileUncertainComplex and Ambiguous.

With the global lockdown and business shut down and loss of revenue due to Covid-19, most of the digitally-enabled organizations will survive while their counterparts may not be as lucky.

The aftermath will be increase in business collaborations, Mergers & Acquisition, buyouts and forceful takeover as companies will strive to gain market superiority and attain industry leadership by leveraging on cutting edge technology and workforce competency.

As business uncertainty mounts on, the world of work requires leaders who can offer stability, professionals with skills such as Adaptability, Creativity, Critical thinking, Judgement & Complex decision making, etc.

Leaders who can think ‘outside of the box’, adapt to rapid changes, introduce new ideas, develop it into a competitive product or service and give the company an edge in an unpredictable and competitive market, lead others to achieve organizational goals and deliver sustainable optimal business results.

The battle to retain, attract, poach, … and headhunt…such leaders will become fierce.

3. Workforce Attitudinal Change:

Presently, new attitudes and behaviours are being formed as people adjust to social distancing, lockdown, working from home, remote working, flexi-working, freelancing, etc. The pros and cons of this new practice is redefining workforce attitude to work and company culture.

Different responses to the mandated lockdown and work from home practice have been observed among employees. It’s different phases for different people- For some, it’s a Career exploratory phase, a Career development phase and a Career reflection phase for others.

Now! A lot of people have time on their hands to search for jobs, ponder on the purpose of working for current employer and explore career opportunities.

Online Learning Platforms are giving free or discounted access to several learning materials and courses, making skills upgrade and new skills acquisition easier and more accessible than before.

After this Covid 19 mayhem… a lot of new professionals with new skills and new purpose will emerge! A new generation of workforce with diverse and informed attitude to jobs and career development!

Approach to jobs will change as upwardly mobile professionals leave mundane, traditional and career-limiting roles to pursue relevant, in-demand, flexible and non-limiting career paths.

4. Labour Market Shift:

The Labour market is currently witnessing an unprecedented increase in unemployment rate and growing skills instability. Millions of people have lost their jobs and means of livelihood to the global Covid 19 pandemic. In the US alone, over 17 million people filed for unemployment benefit within 3 weeks (an all-time high number).

Though, most of these jobs will come back post Covid 19, however, some of these jobs will become automated and new skills will be required.

As the labour market gradually adjust to digitally-enabled business landscape, more people with obsolete skills will lose their jobs to Automations and Intelligent machines.

Fortunately, advancement in technology will also create more jobs for the Skilled professional and demand will increase for tech-related and data-driven skills such as Machine Learning, Data Analytics, Artificial Intelligence, Cloud Computing, Cyber Security, Data Engineering, among others.

These skilled professionals will rule the labour market and have high bargaining power to choose country, industry and employer of choice. The career objectives will swing from monetary compensation to a robust non-monetary compensation inclusive of career advancement, equity, stock options, training opportunity, international mobility, job rotation, job flexibility, health insurance, life insurance etc!

Thereby, causing a shift from the era of the ‘Employers Market’ to the ‘Skilled Market’.

While, the war for talent will intensify as organizations and institutions fight for these sparse ‘skilled’ talents, businesses that fail to invest in upskilling and reskilling of their workforce will witness mass resignations of quality talents.

Decision makers and stakeholders in the labour market will face the dilemma of whether to ‘build or buy’ talents.

How organizations can win the talent war;

Among other things, organizations should pay more attention to recruitment and talent management strategies.

Have a robust pool of talent and develop strategy to retain and attract best talents.

Provide enabling environment for creativity and innovation to thrive.

Have a differentiating and competitive Employee Value Proposition.

Develop working and sustainable road maps for reskilling and upskilling employee across different levels and grades to drive long-term growth and business sustainability.

Have a mix strategy of build/buy talents. Build– train internal employee to drive business continuity and/or Buy talent by recruiting specialized talents to drive innovation and business transformation.

Be the Employer of choice!

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