In the late 1990s, McKinsey & Company warned about the war for talent. It highlighted the coming talent shortage and encouraged companies to prioritize talent strategies around recruiting, retaining, and developing key employees.

Today, the talent shortage continues. I have found that most professional services firm CEOs are concerned about attracting and retaining the best talent.

If you were a CEO and I were your strategic consultant, my first three questions to you would be:

  • Are you financially constrained?
  • Are you opportunity constrained?
  • Are you talent constrained?

Right after the 2008 financial crisis, most CEOs of professional services firms would have responded to those questions by saying that they were financially constrained, but today they are talent constrained. As the global economy picks up, CEOs are increasingly concerned about attracting and retaining the best talent.

The shortage is not just talent, but the right talent with the right mindset. The right talent has the proven ability to network, create trust-based client relationships, embrace teamwork and a diverse perspective, lead people, internalize the firm's strategy and culture, and deliver commercial results.

How can professional services firms compete effectively in this new war for talent? Leaders need to be strategic about talent and focus on a holistic talent approach, including recruitment, engagement, retention, mobility, and diversity.

  • Recruitment: The top firms ...

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