As many modern educators struggle to prepare their students for the new global marketplace, the technical skills needed to keep the economy productive are beginning to run dry. The result is an impending talent drought that threatens to create a catastrophic shortage of the skills needed by today’s organizations.
Knowledge and Talent
According to business consultant and prolific business author Edward E. Gordon, “the majority of businesses around the world are underperforming precisely because their most significant assets — their employees’ knowledge and talent — are unwittingly being suppressed or underdeveloped.”
To help companies cope with the looming talent shortfall, Gordon offers a variety of strategies they can use to improve their chances of finding and hiring talented, knowledgeable and productive people.
Gordon’s battle plan for fixing the broken system that prepares the future work force begins with a detailed description of the forces that have created the problem.
The first challenge is a changing, global economy. The second force is the population shift that is taking place as Baby Boomers retire and birthrates decline. And the third pressure that is causing the growing talent shortfall is an outdated and broken educational system that is failing to prepare students with the skills they need to help companies succeed in the near future.
Gordon explains that the combination of these three forces creates an untenable situation in which more people are unemployed while companies can’t fill their jobs because prospective employees don’t have the skills they need.
After introducing the problem, Gordon methodically presents a well-designed solution. First, he pinpoints the locations on the planet where talented labor is most in demand. While detailing the global reality of a broken education-to-employment system, he emphasizes that even countries such as India and China, which have benefited from outsourcing in the past, are beginning to see talent shortfalls in their own labor pools. He also describes how higher wages and improved economies are helping these countries bring back the brainpower that was once drained by promises of prosperity elsewhere.
Tracking labor problems across 25 countries and demonstrating the work force demographics, globalization challenges and education-to-employment system beneath the surface of each, Gordon focuses on the largest issues that each region faces and points out the major factors that should be addressed.
In the second half of Winning the Global Talent Showdown: How Businesses & Communities Can Partner to Rebuild the Jobs Pipeline, Gordon examines how countries and organizations can grow the talents and skills of their people, as well as why they should make changes in their approaches.
Fascinating research and insights pour from Winning the Global Talent Showdown. For example, while describing the benefits of hiring and retaining older workers, Gordon cites a 2005 Towers Perrin report that shows how doubling the retention of employees over the age of 50 boosts costs only 1 to 3 percent, but replacing them with younger employees “results in high one-time turn-over costs, up to 39 percent of their total compensation.”
To show businesses how to fix the education-to-employment system, Gordon offers a five-point approach. This plan includes using continuous education, building training and development programs to create talent, offering a blend of classroom and technology-based learning, collaborating with community partners, measuring the return on investment of internal and external learning programs, and investing money in human capital and physical capital to reach a business’ goals.
Through case studies from around the world, Winning the Global Talent Showdown describes how innovative partnerships can improve how businesses recruit and develop better people while increasing employee performance.
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