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Global Companies struggle to find long-term solutions in ‘War for Talent’

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Eighty-two per cent of global human resources leaders believe that the ‘war for talent’ is a key and enduring business issue over the next 10 years and beyond yet most are focusing their current efforts on finding shorter-term solutions, according to a recent study from Resources Global Professionals (Resources), the multinational professional services firm. The research, which is based on a survey of human resources (HR) executives across eight countries in Europe, North America and Asia-Pacific, found that HR is focused on implementing short-term measures to recruit and retain talent: 90% are planning to hire external resources; 60% are looking to source offshore talent; and 59% plan to increase productivity without recruiting. 

Chris Hagler, managing director of Global Strategic Services at Resources, the operating subsidiary of Resources Connection, Inc. (NASDAQ: RECN), said: “While it is understandable that HR leaders seek immediate solutions to address current problems, our research indicates that few companies have a clear vision of future skill requirements.

‘’Moreover, most employers take a narrow, local view when considering demographic trends. Long-term measures such as strategic workforce planning are off the radar of HR leaders, who could benefit from workforce planning scenarios that consider a worldwide labour pool.”    

Although the war for talent is seen as a major business issue, HR is still fighting to exert influence at the highest level.  While 98% of HR leaders surveyed consider themselves part of senior management, 42% believe that they have less influence than other members of that team. Approximately 40% of European HR leaders believe they have the same level of influence as other members of the senior team, compared to just 25% in North America.

The Global HR survey highlighted that leadership development, talent management, recruitment and retention are high priorities for HR leaders.  ‘Softer’ HR issues are lower down the scale.  Only six per cent of HR executives consider work/life balance a priority and four per cent see developing cross-cultural awareness as leading the HR agenda despite the challenges posed by operating in a global economy.

In its report, Resources found that reducing administrative costs and simplifying processes are high priorities for companies, but the preferred route is through the creation of shared services centres (back office optimization of process and support activities) rather than outsourcing.   

Companies have created centralised processes for the following functions:

  • Administration of benefits            93%
  • Compensation                            92%
  • Performance management          86%
  • Development and mobility           80%
  • Payroll and training                     74%
  • Recruitment                               68%
  • Employee relations                     61% 

Levels of outsourcing are much lower:

  • Recruitment                               40%
  • Payroll                                       49%
  • Training                                    54%
  • Benefits administration                43%


Hagler concluded: “It will be interesting whether, as the market develops, organizations beyond Asia-Pacific are comfortable moving away from the shared services model into outsourcing models, or if they will develop other solutions to address the need to reduce administrative costs and simplification of internal processes.”


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