With the great recession still looming large in the rear-view mirror, companies are pivoting from the human capital priorities shaped largely by the recession and its aftermath of weak economic growth, and turning their focus to the 2020 horizon. The world’s leading organizations recognize that, while uncertainty remains a part of the business landscape, now is the time to decidedly shift toward the growth opportunities that will position companies for success in the future. In short, business, finance and HR leaders are shifting from defense to offense.

This reset occurs at a time when the talent agenda is undergoing a dramatic revision with significant implications for senior business leaders. Talent is now becoming completely integrated into business strategies, capital investments and operations. As such, human capital issues are commanding increasing attention and business executives now consider talent to be perhaps the critical factor in sustainable growth—and the driver of core strategy decisions.

Earlier this year, leaders of Deloitte’s global Human Capital practice held extensive discussions with clients, industry experts and professionals around the world to identify the current and emerging trends shaping global business and human capital agenda over the next several years. For 2013, we identified 13 global trends driving critical business and human capital priorities.

In order to gauge the intensity and relevance of these trends, Deloitte also conducted an extensive survey of more than 1,300 business leaders and HR executives in 59 countries across the world’s major economic regions. The results of this survey are contained in the global Human Capital Trends 2013report, “Resetting Horizons.”

The 13 trends identified and validated by the survey vary by level of intensity and maturity. Leading trends are those considered highly relevant within the next year. Rising trends are those considered relevant in the next one to three years. Emerging trends are those considered relevant in the next three to five years.

Two categories of trends emerged. First, the “Exploration” category includes thosetrends pushing business leaders to explore new human capital paths and solutions. Second, the “Execution” category includes those trends requiring executives to change the way they’re currently executing their talent, HR and business strategies (Figure 1).

What’s perhaps most telling and of greatest import for business leaders worldwide is that these top five leading trends are consistent across the three major global regions, with only a slight variation in their order of importance (Figure 2).