PWC Research : The Talent Race

I was looking at a recent research report from PWC on its Global CEO Survey 2011. Apart from interesting data on strategic priorities, innovation, business confidence, sustainability etc., it also touches upon the talent agenda through a section titled “The Talent Race”. I pulled out a few slices of data, which I found interesting. And since I am in Asia, I was keen on comparing the Global data with Asia-Pacific data. The chart below talks about the key challenges highlighted by CEOs, considering the talent required for business success over the next 3 years:

The top challenges highlighted for Asia are – limited supply of candidates with the right skills, competitors poaching talent, global talent deployment and inflexibility of talented people. As the Asia growth machine turns faster, companies are definitely feeling a talent squeeze. But are too many companies simply “buying” talent, rather than investing to “build, deploy, grow, retain” talent? Also, interestingly, “providing attractive career paths” is cited as less of a challenge by CEOs in Asia. I am not entirely sure how to read this because most of my experiences seems to suggest that this is a continual challenge for companies here. Is there a potential disconnect between what leaders and employees think?

The report also states that over 80% of the CEOs globally are seeking a rethink of their people strategy. When asked about what changes they anticipate in their people strategy over the next year, the response are as follows:

Use of non-financial rewards to motivate staff is right at the top of the list. (“Meaning” is the new money?) Leaders in Asia are also looking at deploying more employees on global assignments as they expand. There is lesser focus on incentivizing younger employees differently, which makes me again wonder if focusing on age-groups is useful or should we really focus on “life-stages” of employees. In Asia-Pacific, there is the same level of focus on attracting and retaining women in the workforce as the global levels, but the focus on recruiting / retaining older workers is higher in Asia-Pacific.

Of course, these are just some of the insights from the study. Tell me what else you found interesting!

5 thoughts on “PWC Research : The Talent Race

  1. Is the data kosher? At least in India I do not see an urge to hire/retrain older workers. There is an “jeunism” in the air in the corporate world and older workers are discriminated against, usually subtly rather than blatantly, but discriminated against nonetheless.
    I suspect some of the answers are due to the “social desirability effect.”


    • The data is Asia Pacific, and there is bound to be variability between countries. But yes, it could be just for the social desirability effect!


  2. Hi Abhishek, I wonder what correlation there is between these two points that contrasted in AP? Providing attractive career paths in our industry and insentivising younger employees differently. Perhaps this is a nod to higher mobility in the workforce, we realise that younger employees will be upwardly mobile, and career paths are less of a focus, and more on learning experiences in the role?? Just a thought…


    • That’s a great hypothesis Nick! And this data came as a bit of a surprise to me. Our research clearly shows that Career Growth is among the top drivers of Employee Engagement – globally as well as in Asia. And still it’s not a key priority! Clearly, there is an implicit nod to mobility, and the focus is on filling the vacant seats to keep the engines running!


  3. Quite interesting to see importance of non-financial rewards both globally and in AP. Globally, it’s easy to surmise people may be learning from the mistakes made, especially in the financial industry, that led to the economic collapse and recession. AP is a bit more difficult as the economies can vary so greatly country to country. One article I read recently showed many companies China dramatically increasing base compensation — which is great, but very different from the idea of offering large cash bonuses for achieving goals at year end. Both of those could be considered financial rewards.

    Good research and good discussion. I need to dig more deeply into the research, I think.


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