This Week's Herman Trend Alert

HR in Normal 2.0

  The Herman Trend Alert

June 20, 2007

Global War for Talent

Employers worldwide are stressed. They're challenged to find, engage, and retain the skilled workers they need to manufacture their products and serve their customers. Some companies have had mission-critical jobs open for more than a year. One hospital has been looking for a physician for three years. Consultant Ira Wolfe's "Perfect Labor Storm" is here.

What's behind this "storm" is a combination of years of low birthrates in the developed countries with unprecedented global prosperity and shortages of trained workers. Complicating this difficult situation is the competency deficit and a lack of leadership. When the schools are not adequately preparing young people for work or college and employers haven't been training their next generation of workers, it is a set-up for disaster.

In some countries, notably Mexico and China, the productivity simply isn't there. According to fellow futurist Edward Gordon, "the productivity of China's workers is only 14 percent of their United States counterparts." When Joyce spoke at the first Human Capital Conference in Japan, back in 2000, the VP HR for Intel Asia complained that his productivity was one-third that of their US operations.

And the wages in both India and China are growing exponentially. According to a study by the World Bank, titled "Global Economic Prospects 2007", real wages in China appreciated a whopping 110 percent between 1989 and 2004.

Advancing technologies address some of these deficits, but they only increase the demand for more highly skilled workers---in short supply. Offshore, though we find the schools in India, Germany, and elsewhere doing better at job-preparation, the training is insufficient to meet the increasing demand. Going forward, retaining and engaging top talent (being an Employer of Choice(R)) will be the global strategic competitive advantage.

Not surprisingly, Singapore-based Universal Network Intelligence has engaged Joyce to deliver a two-day workshop on Advanced Talent Engagement in early August. Different from the domestic Employee Retention Specialist™ Certificate Program (, this customized learning experience will include numerous case studies of multinationals operating in Asia. Visit or contact Ashley Koh at

This global tightening of the labor marketplace is only the beginning.

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