Viewpoint — September 2017

The Talent War Continues to Rage
by Bob Gershberg, CEO/Managing Partner Wray Executive Search

Bob Gershberg, Managing Partner/CEO Wray Executive Search

“Our people are our greatest asset!” We sing it loudly, from the boardrooms, the mountaintops and beyond. “We have an Employee First culture!” We hear that one often enough. The “War for Talent” warning from McKinsey & Co. in the late 90’s advised on an upcoming talent shortage and urged us to prioritize talent strategies around recruiting, retaining and developing key employees.

Well, folks, you ain’t seen nothing yet. As the US approaches full employment, and job creation grows at twice the rate of the labor pool, brace yourself for a seismic shift in the war for talent. Shifting demographics, changes in consumer demand and the upward spiral of global competition will yield fierce battle for talent over the next two decades.

We have long known loyalty abets loyalty in the workplace, but organizations have been woefully inept at exercising policies to establish these bonds. Millennials now make up 35% of the work force and they have known nothing but restructuring and cutbacks of benefits. We have created a work force of free agents with plenty of options who are cognizant of the need to move to attain career ascendency. 
Hiring cycles are getting longer, well beyond pre-recession levels. Turnover cost is now estimated at 1.5 to 2 times the employee’s salary and substantively higher in executive ranks.

Sir Richard Branson, CEO of Virgin puts it this way, “It should go without saying, if the person who works at your company is 100 percent proud of the brand and you give them the tools to do a good job and they are treated well, they’re going to be happy. When companies focus on employees first, effectively, in the end shareholders do well, the customers do better, and your staff remains happy.” Perhaps the best way to delight our customers is, in fact, through an employee first culture.

Let’s get over the ‘losing jobs to China” paranoia. We manufacture more than ever in the US. Our manufacturing jobs have been lost to technology, not to low wages in Asia.

Employee engagement, providing employees more control of their development and defining success will prove the path to glory. Mining hidden leadership talent within your organization requires great effort but it is indeed, time well spent. Define and identify what “HIGH POTENTIAL” means in your organization. Winning the talent war requires giving people the ability to take control of their destinies. A clear path forward to achieving career goals is mandatory.

Invest in your people. Teach them, mentor them, lead them and they in turn, will learn to become leaders themselves.

All the best, 


Bob Gershberg |CEO|Managing Partner|
(888) 875-9993 ext 102

Finding tomorrow’s leaders today!


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