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Talent crisis threatening business growth

Wednesday 4th April 2012

An inability to recruit and keep the right people, and a skills mismatch are hitting companies’ bottom lines, according to a global PricewaterhouseCoopers survey of CEOs.

A quarter of CEOs said they were unable to pursue a market opportunity or have had to cancel or delay a strategic initiative because of talent challenges. One in three said they were concerned that skills shortages will impact their company’s ability to innovate effectively.

PwC asked nearly 1300 CEOs in 60 countries about their priorities and how they’re preparing for the future. Talent emerged as one of the biggest issues facing the boardroom.

Neil Roden, human resources consulting partner at PwC said: "CEOs are facing a 'talent crunch', and it’s an issue keeping them awake at night. An inability to find and keep the right people is biting – CEOs say the lack of talent is stifling expansion and innovation.

"It’s a unique challenge - companies are struggling to find and keep the right talent when there are more educated people than ever before and a worldwide talent pool is available to them."

CEOs across all industries said it has become more difficult to find the skills they need - even industries that have retrenched. 43% of those polled say it is now more difficult to hire workers in their industry.

They’re also looking at the gap that exists to replace the baby boomer generation over the next ten years and how best to prepare the next generation for that transition. Only 30% of CEOs are "very confident" that they will have access to the talent they need over the next three years.

78% of CEOS say they’ll make a change to their talent strategies.

Roden said: "To face up to this crisis CEOs are turning outside their sector for talent and they’re also going deeper into their own organisations to pinpoint their future leaders and invest in their development now.

"This early investment can pay off in future loyalty among these future leaders, and the obvious benefits of recruiting internally and 'growing their own' rather than struggling to replace from outside."

Richard Phelps, human resources consulting partner, PwC said: "CEOs that are facing the future and trying to get their talent pipeline right are bringing HR closer to the fold and changing their talent strategies; 79% of CEOs say that the chief HR officer or equivalent is one of their direct reports.

"HR needs to ensure that it’s responding to this talent rethink by getting the long-term pipeline right and making sure CEOs get the right metrics.

"There’s a big opportunity for HR in management information - only a minority of CEOs are getting HR management information for the measures they say are important.

"CEOs want to know about their talent investments beyond productivity and labour costs. Employee engagement, team performance and isolating skills gaps are difficult measurements to make, but they are critical to see where investments and innovation are working."

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Mike Jones

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