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Emerging talent key focus for HR leaders

Nick Holmes, the UK managing director of WCN, hosted an expert session on & lsquo;Emerging Talent’ alongside Anna Byrne, recruitment leader at nucleargraduates, sharing views on how important emerging talent is, and the struggle to retain them.

WCN identified emerging talent as people hired through university, college, school,  MBA recruitment and internship programmes and referred to them as key talent and leaders of the future.

As baby boomers start to leave the workforce a generational shift will occur, causing millennials to become the dominant worker in 2015. 10,000 baby boomers are reported to be leaving work every day in the US impacting the way companies conduct future business, as this predominantly loyal workforce, holding the majority of formal and tacit organisational knowledge, are being replaced by technologically savvy, highly creative and mobile generation thinking with their feet.

Holmes stated, “Most millennials only plan to stay in jobs for two years or less, compared to previous generations of over four years. As recruiters, it is going to become increasingly important to improve how we hire, engage and retain a very different generation, with different drivers and outlook on life.”

Emerging talent has developed a very different view on work. They have grown up with the internet at their fingertips, world politics defined by 9/11 and the events that followed, and perhaps the worst global recession in recent human history, all shaping the way they view the world and the role work plays within their lives.

Byrne shared her insight into the nuclear industry’s struggle to find emerging talent, agreeing that they are happier than ever to think with their feet: “70% of the Civil Nuclear workforce is set to retire by 2025, which is a rather worrying statistic. Graduates are now a mobile workforce, not looking to stay in one place for too long.”

By 2020 researchers forecast that we will begin to see a global shortage of skilled labour, particularly from college or university-educated workers. This & lsquo;talent-crunch’ is set to reduce the number of university educated workers needed for the global workforce by 40 million, according to McKinsey&Company.

The area most likely to be hit hardest by this shortfall are the STEM disciplines, and this isn’t just a UK problem, it is global with China and India suffering from the same challenge as Europe.

Byrne comments, “It is important to train workers within the STEM industry to have transferable skills, because we know they are unlikely to stay in one role, but we must ensure they remain in the market, so we can track and trace the emerging talent once we have found it.”

When looking to attract the top emerging talent, there are a few best practices. Clearly communicating brand values and explaining what the organisation does are significant attributes. Giving employees responsibility early in their careers was cited as a key motivator, which in-turn will encourage loyalty. Diversity which has been talked about for years is as important as ever.

Millennials are looking for a better work/life balance, so emphasising this is essential, and to make it reality, companies will need management buy-in otherwise retention rates will be a challenge. However, one-size does not fit all, what suits the UK market, might have no relevance to talent in India or the US.


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