Globalisation and talent management are the continuing number one challenges for the HR profession.
Today, the shape of labour markets and the general economic environment are exhibiting new features that are becoming permanent, and will condition the professional responses we are able to undertake in today’s workplaces.
The Manpower Group recently concluded that across the globe there are 3 billion people over the age of 15 who are working or interested in finding full-time employment, but there are only 1.2 billion jobs available.
The world’s population continues to grow but not always where the jobs are available. Further, 250 million workers reside in foreign countries because of their work and that’s tipped to reach half a billion by 2020, a huge change for world labour markets to manage.
In Europe there are nearly 25 million unemployed but only 4 million open vacancies. In the US, 8 million jobs are posted on the internet every month but there are 13 million looking for work.
Clearly a critical skill and/or labour mobility mismatch exists in the world’s two largest developed economies. Europe is tipped to see off 50 million workers into retirement by 2020, but it still has the bureaucratic barriers up for skilled migration in areas of demand, such as engineering, finance and health care.
Added to this, fertility rates are declining across both of these continents and in China.
Planning and integration skills
The separation of employment access is also flowing through into poverty levels. Poor people are getting permanently marginalised, and denied access to education, decent homes and from starting their own business.
Looking more broadly, we are seeing large developing economies, like China, start to become aggressive in securing the natural resources necessary to feed their economic growth. That means buying up companies in Australia, or bringing on a diplomatic stoush with Japan, Vietnam or the Philippines over ownership of marine resources in nearby waters.
With so many people working around the world or coming to work in Australia, that’s a huge challenge to the workforce planning and integration skills of the HR profession.
Some of our profession’s more positive responses to these challenges are as follows:
- We are spending more time on workforce planning but what skills do we need and when, where and how?
- Talent management has now been placed on the employment life-cycle supply chain. It is no longer just a celebration of people headed for the executive suite (if any of these places still exist). For example, at Infosys in India turnover rates in the first two years of a person’s employment were huge. The company put in place career development initiatives for each worker on a daily basis because there were recruiters waiting at the bottom of the lift with job offers for employees. So you’d better be active at hanging on to what you’ve got.
- Responding to pressure to increase productivity – especially with flexible working arrangements that distinguish times when people need to be together, and other instances when they can work independently, often from home.
- Managing adult longevity and skill retention by pre-empting final retirement into a mix of some continuing work and mentoring, and access to a phased set of recreational pursuits as well.
- Outsmarting the smart machines – in other words, keeping up with the rapid pace of communication changes; mastering social media application and risk mitigation; and keeping on top of the systemic IT risks that cause workplace meltdowns.
- Understanding the convergence of the workplace with a compassionate society. Gen Y in particular wants to work with a responsible and active employer.
Keep abreast of this changing big picture, as it will influence how you connect your own professional dots in this extraordinary new world of work.