Five years after the onset of the great recession, global talent markets continue to evolve rapidly. Talent remains a top concern for business leaders around the world. This concern is not about the availability of workers; it is, rather, about the shortage of critical skills, experiences and specialized capabilities of leaders, managers, creators and producers required in changing industries.
As the global consumer and talent markets grow increasingly inter-connected, we are seeing new patterns and priorities emerge in what has for the past 15 years been referred to as the "war for talent." We believe the next challenge is the war to develop talent, as a number of shifts and trends are presenting new opportunities for business leaders focusing on the ongoing importance of developing critical talent, leaders and skills.
Unfortunately, many of the conventional approaches to managing talent are based in 19th century models of factories, supply routes and personnel administration, and offer few insights to the next generation of talent challenges. In "Reframing the Talent Agenda," a recent Deloitte University Press article I co-authored with Lisa Barry and Andy Liakopoulos, we provide an updated view on critical talent challenges based on a review of recent works from leading business researchers and academics Lynda Gratton of London Business School, MIT's Erik Brynjolfsson and Andy McAfee, and Peter Cappelli from The Wharton Business School.
In The Shift: The Future of Work is Already Here, Lynda Gratton presents an overview of the trends reshaping work, jobs and careers, and addresses the concerns of the next generations of job seekers and providers. Of particular interest are three shifts Gratton identifies:
The shift to connectivity. In addition to deep skills, employees will need deep networks, including collections of masters (an evolving board of advisors), a posse (a network of colleagues/followers/apprentices), and active participation in broader open networks and communities.
The shift from worker/consumer to prosumer and community contributor. There is a trend of workers moving beyond working to consume, to working to create value and social meaning. Our combined ability to produce and consume is leading to the rise of what Gratton calls the prosumer. Social and community volunteer opportunities are moving from once-a-year activities to ongoing corporate volunteer corps, pro bono opportunities to invest skills in the community, and an integration of professional and social concerns.
The shift from generalist to serial master. Instead of a career, workers will need to think of a series of careers -- five or six careers of 8 to 15 years duration -- over the course of a long (50 to 60 years), productive life. Each career will likely require deep mastery of skills, knowledge and experience, resulting in the need to prepare with ongoing education and intensive skill building. This underscores the movement from the idea of lifelong employment to a focus on lifelong learning as a critical tenet of talent strategies.