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Talent War Ahead? Yea or Nay?

Sharon and I have been writing about retention and engagement for several years. We believe that a new bigger talent war is around the corner. (We’re not the only ones who think this way either.) Why? Because of the confluence of three major factors: Healthier economy and brighter job market. That spells more options for good workers.

Sharon and I have been writing about retention and engagement for several years. We believe that a new bigger talent war is around the corner. (We’re not the only ones who think this way either.) Why? Because of the confluence of three major factors:

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  • Healthier economy and brighter job market. That spells more options for good workers.
  • Unhappy employees, with updated resumes and packed bags who are ready to jump ship at the first sign of greener grass. (See the latest Monster survey – 89% of 13,000 people plan to change jobs in the next 6 months.)
  • Changing demographics. One half of the 76 million Baby Boomers will be eligible to retire in the next decade. Their replacements will come from a smaller generation. The number of workers between the prime working ages of 25 and 54 will stagnate, causing a shortage in skilled workers.

We’ve dealt with the first two factors before. But we’ve never seen anything like the demographic earthquake predicted by the pending departure of the Baby Boomers.

Of course we know the talent war will affect some industries, geographies, and career functions more than others. For example, many countries already face a nursing shortage of unprecedented proportions, and the problem will only get worse, with aging populations who need more health care. How are things in your backyard? Do you already feel the competition for talent increasing?

Some say there are mitigating factors and they could ease the pain of the New Talent War. See what Peter Capelli says in this Fast Company essay. Fewer workers will be needed as:

  • Companies continue to send jobs to other countries (globalization, off-shoring)
  • Technology advances and productivity advances continue
  • Skilled workers immigrate here from other countries
  • Boomers delay their retirement

No one really knows the effect these factors will have or if they’ll “mitigate” the problem. What do you think?

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