Delivering results through talent: The HR challenge in a volatile world

The talent crisis is no longer a problem of the future. It is here and now and is threatening business growth and economic prosperity.

As the global business landscape continues to evolve, the challenges remain and intensify in many countries. We are witnessing a huge shift of economic power and opportunities to emerging economies, particularly in the East. Businesses are looking for sustainable growth and their targets are more demanding than ever. Organisations have to rethink their talent pipeline and transform their HR function to deal with new priorities and risks.

To be successful HR has to be a true partner to the CEO – helping to shape the priorities and plans of the business. How HR leaders take up this challenge may well determine whether their organisation will sink or swim in these turbulent times.

About our 15th Global Annual CEO Survey

CEOs focused on improving skills of the entire workforce
UK Partner, Jon Andrews, discusses the importance of better understanding the risks and returns from investing in talent.

We conducted 1,258 interviews with CEOs in 60 countries between 22 September and 12 December 2011. In addition, 38 CEOs sat down with us near the end of 2011 for more extensive conversations. Their thoughts on the talent issues impacting their businesses are reflected in the quotes throughout our report.

CEOs are more focused on recruiting local talent and developing/promoting from within
View Data
Bridging talent gaps: What is the future of the global workforce?
View Data


Rohana Rozhan
CEO, ASTRO Malaysia Holdings, Malaysia

“Our starting point is to have a human capital strategy that, as much as possible, pre-empts and mirrors our business strategy and business plan. And that’s a challenge in itself.”
Marijn Dekkers
Chairman, Bayer AG

“But what is interesting and what is changing is that among Western companies, the ability to hire, develop and retain talent in the developing economies has become a major point of competitive differentiation.”
Brian Duperreault
President and Chief Executive Officer of Marsh & McLennan Companies Inc.

“Recognising that the world is somewhat split down the middle between slow growth and rapid growth, you’d better be able to operate in both at the same time”
Lázaro Campos
CEO, SWIFT, Belgium

“As emerging markets accelerate – or maybe the rest of the world decelerates – there is a significant sense of urgency. There is the sense that it may already be too late to place your bets. A second factor to consider it that it is much more difficult to get into those markets because of their attitude change. They feel that post-2008 they have less to learn from the West.”
Andy Green
CEO, Logica Plc

“We’ve definitely grown less fast than we would have liked to in some places, particularly in some of these new skill areas – business intelligence or future IT skills – because we haven’t been able to recruit and attract and train enough people fast enough.”
Michael White
Chairman, President and CEO, The DIRECTV Group Inc., US

“Let’s face it. There are 80 million Baby Boomers who are going to retire over the next five to seven years, and they’re going to be replaced by 40 million Gen Xers. That’s two to one, so you’d better be developing your next generation now if you’re going to be ready for that transition.”
Richard O’Brien
President and CEO, Newmont Mining Corporation

“We’re starting to attract some technically inclined people out of the schools today, but there are fewer mining schools and mining engineers – at the same time there’s more demand for them.”
Andrey Kostin

“VTB’s corporate university was established six years ago.Since then it has become a promotion springboard for many middle-level managers.”
Baba Kalyani
Chairman and Managing Director, Bharat Forge Ltd, India

“I believe organisations have to find their own solutions. We run a talent factory of 700 to 800 people here in India and we are working on creating a global talent pool of about 100 people – 60 of them from India and 40 from other countries – so that we can send them anywhere across our operations. We hope to have this talent pool ready within the next three years.”
Tom Albanese
Chief Executive, Rio Tinto, UK

“We really do need to staff up local businesses with people from those countries. It doesn’t make sense to have large numbers of expats working all round the world as it’s just very expensive, so we have to train, we have to develop and we have to attract the right local talent. For the most part these locations are in pretty wild places. And now most professionals want to be in urban locations, particularly if they have families. So it’s an increasing challenge to induce people to work in those difficult locations”
Marijn Dekkers
Chairman, Bayer A

“We try to avoid overseas assignments just to fill a gap, but sometimes you just can’t avoid it.”