News  & Insights

Remember the war for talent? It is back!

by Greg McKenzie

Like all market paradigms, early recognition of strategic shifts in markets is essential to achieving tactical commercial advantage.


So it is, with the war for talent


This concept was first promoted by McKinsey in the 90’s in a seminal thought leadership piece which referred to an increasingly competitive landscape for recruiting and retaining talented employees. 


In a pre GFC world, this topic challenged executive leadership teams as they sought to increase “bench strength” in order to create greater value within their business. They understood that in a competitive world they needed to be agile and responsive to talent acquisition opportunities and prioritise recruitment activities appropriately. 1st and 2nd shortlist interviews were arranged expeditiously and formal offers were provided in a seamless process. Nothing was allowed to delay the process and potentially lose high level talent to another employer.


Now, fast-forward to a post GFC world where this proposition has been diluted as organisations have been forced to restructure and retrench their way to fiscal survival. Procrastination and poor recruitment practises prevail and the concept of candidate care has become a long lost art.


But here’s the thing! In mid 2015, the Australian recruitment profession, and in my case – specialist finance recruiters, witnessed a significant shift in market dynamics. 


At [axr] our phones started ringing as organisations, struggling to complete simple “Business As Usual” tasks with under-resourced teams, sought to increase their bench strength. 


The prevailing market paradigm was that it was a buyers’ market, but more astute employers came to understand that under investment in talent development in a post GFC world, has left a market which is talent poor, particularly in the high demand skill sets related to business performance analysis, provision of commercial insight, decision support, financial planning and strategy development. 


This recognition is allowing these more astute employers to take first-mover advantage to secure scarce, high performing talent. They are prepared to prioritise recruitment activities, offer attractive remuneration and employment conditions. They are not constrained by the notion that every box on the Job Description has to be ticked. They are recruiting with an eye to the future needs of the business and are able to articulate this proposition to prospective employees.


How well positioned is your organisation to win the next war for talent?


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