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ManpowerGroup President of Americas Explains How Human Age Forces Are Complicating Talent Landscape

ManpowerGroup President of Americas Explains How Human Age Forces Are Complicating Talent Landscape at Economist's Human Capital Breakfast

Demographics, Impact of the Recession, Drive for Productivity and Revolutions in Technology Exacerbating Mismatches

ManpowerGroup (NYSE: MAN) President of the Americas, Jonas Prising, today explained that the changing demographic landscape, the recent global recession, companies' maniacal pursuit of productivity and efficiency and the shifting sands of technology have accelerated the oversupply of available workers and undersupply of talent  - resulting in the skills mismatch. ManpowerGroup is the world leader in innovative workforce solutions.

Prising addressed The Economist's Human Capital Breakfast in Los Angeles, California, explaining that the world is adjusting to a new ecosystem, identified by ManpowerGroup as the Human Age, in which access to capital has been replaced by access to talent as the key competitive differentiator. The Human Age and notion of Talentism have become the focal point for how government and business leaders explain what is occurring throughout labor markets everywhere.

"We are seeing an increasingly bifurcated world, in which emerging markets are accelerating and mature markets are decelerating, also contributing to the talent mismatch which ManpowerGroup's research shows is a problem for one in three employers worldwide in the face of continuing high unemployment and more generations in the workforce," said Prising. "Companies will only hire when they see demand, not in anticipation of demand. This also means companies are more specific about the skills they need and focused on hiring only the best talent when they do hire."

Prising and his fellow panelists discussed the 2012 global economic outlook in the face of continuing geopolitical uncertainty and the challenge of accessing highly skilled workers in the face of talent mismatches. Justine Thody, Editorial Director for the Americas at the Economist Intelligence Unit, moderated the panel and provided a global economic outlook for the next five years. Panelists joining Prising were Ana Dutra, CEO, Leadership and Talent Consulting, Korn Ferry International, who discussed retaining talent and building a pipeline and Jonathan Speight, Regional Head of HR in Latin America for HSBC, who spoke to the business angle of attracting talent in foreign markets.

The rapid evolution of technology is the unpredictable "shifting sand" of the employment landscape, allowing for increased interconnectivity, efficiency and productivity but also creating a need for employers to be more transparent. Due to "infobesity" - that is, so much relevant information exists that it is difficult to filter to get at the critical pertinent information to make decisions  -  there is a correlation to the dichotomy between macro-economic data and companies' understanding of the reality of micro labor markets. In China, for example, there is in theory an almost inexhaustible supply of 1.3 billion people but in reality there may only be 300 million people with the right skills.

Companies can no longer assume labor arbitrage benefits in emerging markets, as that chapter is drawing to a close. However, ManpowerGroup's research shows it is not necessarily about compensation packages either as Chinese workers, for who career development is a key driver of employee engagement and retention, are increasingly favoring Chinese companies over multinationals.

"In the Human Age, business is global, talent is mobile and more importantly labor markets are local," added Prising. "Whether companies are seeking talent in Beijing or Sao Paolo, they need to have the same micro-understanding of the local labor market. Workers in Brazil are gravitating toward local companies for the same reasons. In a world challenged by talent paradox, domestic demand grows in tandem with a new consumer class there, ratcheting up the need for companies to take an active role in finding new ways to attract, develop and unleash the potential of the people they need."

An increasingly bifurcated world, in which emerging markets are accelerating and mature markets are decelerating, is exacerbating the talent conundrum.

In order to remain competitive in the Human Age, the U.S. must practice better private and public partnership collaboration across the board. Over half of U.S. employers report difficulty in filling mission-critical positions.

"While there is no one-size-fits-all solution to the problem, it cannot be resolved in silos. Businesses, education and governments have a vested interest in working together to create a better skills match," added Prising. Technology moves fast, and business moves faster. Education can only keep pace with the skills business demands if business itself has a stake in the future of skills."

These insights are among those that ManpowerGroup released in the new research paper, "How to Navigate the Human Age," at last month's World Economic Forum Annual Meeting in Davos, Switzerland. Prising was part of ManpowerGroup's delegation at Davos, where WEF Founder and Executive Chairman, Klaus Schwab, echoed ManpowerGroup's sentiment that talentism is the new capitalism, showing that, one year on from ManpowerGroup's identification of this new ecosystem, the concept is resonating.

"How to Navigate the Human Age" is available for download at:


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