Ah, the “Law of Unforeseen Consequences!” It is now 15 years since McKinsey first published their article, “The War for Talent.” I wonder whether anyone – including McKinsey themselves – could have foreseen what this would launch.
At the time of publication McKinsey were responding to the growing global economy, forecasting a looming shortage of people with the right skills to enable businesses to achieve their objectives, and hence predicting an idiomatic ‘war’ as companies ‘fought’ to attract the "talent" they needed. Even with the economic downturn the demand for good people remains and, arguably, has even grown.
Yet, despite this, little seems to have been done to mitigate this need or alleviate the problem. In fact in many ways actions taken by ‘Management’ could be said to have made the problem worse. Certainly that appears to be the case when the HR Director of a leading international recruitment firm writes about the “War on Talent.” More than merely an ironic spin on McKinsey’s article, this is a not-so-subtle indictment of the manner in which organisations misuse and abuse what they themselves often call their greatest asset. Certainly you need to give more than a little consideration to what the lady says, because she should know. After all, hers is a multi-industry perspective rather than a single organisation one.