New Bersin & Associates Research Shows Global Growth Creating a New War for Talent

Talent Shortages Emerge as a Top Barrier to Growth as Business Leaders Shift their Focus to Globalization, Innovation and Expansion

Mar 02, 2011, 08:00 ET from Bersin & Associates

OAKLAND, Calif., March 2, 2011 /PRNewswire/ -- Bersin & Associates, the premier research and consulting firm empowering HR organizations to drive bottom-line impact, today announced that for the first time in almost three years, talent shortages are cited by more than 50% of business leaders surveyed as a key challenge as attention shifts from cost cutting to globalization, innovation, skills development, and rebuilding business growth as the economy improves.

These findings are discussed in the company's most recent research study, TalentWatch®: First Quarter 2011 -- Global Growth Creates a New War for Talent. More than half of all businesses state that their business is being held back by a lack of talent, the study found. The study also found that while the U.S. and Western European markets are still recovering, organizations in emerging economies in Eastern Europe, China, India are seeing revenues growth rates of 20 percent to 30 percent. This has forced organizations to shift people resources and talent strategies into these economies. Industries seeing the greatest revenues growth are financial services, manufacturing, transportation, food service and technology.  

"We are reentering a marketplace in which talent will play a vital role," said Josh Bersin, chief executive officer and president, Bersin & Associates. "As businesses have shifted their priorities to focus on new product introductions, growth and acceleration in hiring, HR organizations are focusing on programs to encourage innovation, increase employee engagement and drive individual performance. In fact, 36 percent of HR leaders cite either globalization or expansion as one of their organization's top two business priorities and 37 percent cite the 'need to accelerate innovation' as a top priority for the year."

To address these business priorities, HR leaders say the top three "urgent" talent challenges are creating a performance-driven culture, filling gaps in the leadership pipeline, and developing skills to address product and business challenges. In fact, skills gaps in supervisory-level and midlevel leadership are now becoming a major focus, along with the need to identify and promote emerging talent. Nearly half of all organizations state that they are experiencing difficulty filling key positions – up from 35 percent last year.

To address these challenges, Bersin said, "HR organizations are engaging in a 'war for talent,' that is different from what we have seen previously."

This new war for talent is distinguished by what Bersin & Associates calls "the borderless workplace," an environment in which age, geography, gender and organizational boundaries are disappearing. Companies must immediately address employee and customer satisfaction issues, because they will quickly appear on social networks. This new borderless environment is spurring high-impact HR and learning and development practices to focus on empowerment, knowledge-sharing and use of social networking for recruiting and learning, and building collaborative leadership skills.

"Even emerging economies are not the sources of qualified technical talent that they used to be," Bersin added. "As a result, organizations need to create a dynamic, continuous workforce around the world that can be tapped to meet dynamic business demands."

Research for the study, which involved interviews with senior business and human resource leaders from more than 130 corporations around the world in a wide variety of industries, is designed to help business and HR leaders understand the changing trends and benchmarks in acquiring, developing and investing in talent with a focus on providing industry-specific, actionable findings. To combat the unique challenges posed by today's borderless environment, the study found that high-performing companies must focus on:

  • Building deep skills quickly among new employees and senior workers;
  • Actively establishing relationships with prospective employees through employer branding and social networking-based marketing;
  • Implementing integrated talent management software to create internal career mobility and succession plans; and
  • Creating a vibrant, highly empowered work environment that drives performance.

To download a complimentary copy of TalentWatch®: First Quarter 2011 -- Global Growth Creates a New War for Talent, go to:

Register for an online webinar about this report at 2 p.m. Eastern/11 a.m. Pacific on March 30th, at

Those interested in learning more about Bersin & Associates and its WhatWorks® membership may email or call (510) 251-4400.  

For media queries, email or call (415) 465-2711.  

About Bersin & Associates

Bersin & Associates empowers HR and learning organizations to drive bottom-line impact through world-class research and consulting. The company's WhatWorks® membership gives human resources, learning, and talent acquisition professionals the information and tools they need to drive change in their organizations as strategic business partners.

Bersin & Associates members use our insights and tools to benchmark themselves against best practices, design and implement programs across the HR and learning spectrum and select and implement systems.  More than 5,000 organizations worldwide, including more than half of the Fortune 100, use Bersin & Associates research and consulting to guide their learning, talent, and human resources strategies.

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