A historic shift in the business landscape

The tectonic plates of economic, technological and demographic change are realigning into a new global business landscape which is having a dramatic effect on the supply of and demand for talent. This shift is creating significant challenges for global organizations in the way they manage their workforces. These include how to become a learning organization, how to manage the work–life balance, change and cultural transformation (Boston Consulting Group, 2013). But uppermost is the management of talent. The reward for getting it right, however, is the chance to create and sustain a competitive advantage that can't be copied: the competitive advantage of a skilled, engaged and motivated workforce.

Finding the right people with the right skills to work in companies around the world continues to test business executives. To support their efforts, HR professionals are rethinking their ‘techniques for managing talent [to] ensure they are aligned with the new strategic objectives of their organization. Increasingly they will need to develop more evidence-based approaches to manage global talent – drawing on improved analytics to identify talent segments and gaps, optimize resource allocation, integrate workforce plans and manage unavoidable risk’ (Oxford Economics, 2012). This move will be a step function in the role of HR.

Hence, the study of talent management in a global context is one that is growing in importance. The search ...

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