Shouldn’t India be ready for a War For Talent?

Before we go ahead, let’s have a look at– What is a talent?

By talent we mean demonstrated ability, achievement, or skill in some special particular field of study or interest.

Having a bird’s eye perspective, we can now easily distinguish few important developments taking place everywhere in Indian Job-marketplace:

1.  Without getting trapped in the various publications’ projections about Employment Outlook in India for 2012-13, I would just use approximation to make the point clear.   There are enough pointers that overall employment scenario in India seems vastly improved in comparison of years of 2008-2009 or 2009-2010.

A general theme that emerges is that approximately 40-45% employers expect fresh hirings to take place, where as 1-5% employers feel that decrease in hiring would take place.  But 35% expect no change from the year gone by.  And most believe that ‘a bloodbath’ has already occurred’ and not likely to occur again.

3-Sectors in India, viz., Financial Services, Infrastructure, Healthcare and Pharmaceuticals have shown consistently encouraging signs.  Other sectors such as IT, ITES, FMCG and Retail, Manufacturing and Engineering, and Telecommunications, also seem to have become stabilized and are cautiously optimistic for new hiring.  Since most of the sectors were hard hit during the recession and may never see employment numbers recover to pre-recession levels.

2.  Most employers have serious concern for ‘Employee Retention’, as they witness that the job-satisfaction and engagement among employees are at historical lows.

3.  Most employers are unanimous that they face a marked shortage of talent among existing employees and to-be hired candidates.  Especially, when it comes to the question of how to attract and retain the younger employees, they run short of ideas and right understanding.

4. Demographic difference among the employee-population is already causing a serious headache for employers, as they testify that there is vast difference of skills among the older-generation of current employees (baby-boomers) and current lot of younger-generation of employees (Gen X and Gen Y).  It is Gen Y that is more of a challenge to them.

5.  Though the leadership of most good companies is found to be more involved now into the talent management endeavors, but there is still a high degree of anxiety among employers about their readiness, preparedness for their talent-conquests.

What’s happening there that is not meeting the eyes?

Recessionary cutbacks which are still in effect at many employers, have required employees who are still on the jobs, to typically work more hours for less pay.

Endless re-organizations of structures or businesses have taken places at companies and these have already weakened employees’ bonds with their bosses who are busier than ever.

In the process, organizations may have underestimated the effects damaged work relationships, work-related stress and work/life balance are having on their employees.

More than a few employees are prepared to leave whenever the opportunity arises.  For now, the job market principally favors employers, but this won’t last forever. Employees will often leave when they are badly managed and the organization is confusing and uninspiring to them.  A bad or even soul-destroying job held now, may only be a necessary placeholder while actively networking for the next job.

While unemployment in India still remains relatively very high, the companies’ looking to scout for talented people are not getting it any easier.  Reality is that demand for employees with the right skills, right experience, and right job-fit is rising very high, but at a time when the overall supply available of such employees is all set to fall continuously.

India also have its fair share of baby-boomers—employees who are fast approaching their retirements.  The companies who find that their baby-boomers are critical to their operations are at the cusp of serious onslaught of intense competition for a shrinking talent pool, as they would be forced to fill these vacancies with younger employees.

Let’s talk about India’s younger generation. 

With the estimations of Census of India, it is well-established that we have approximately 65-70 crore youth with us (the data need not be exhaustive or conclusive).  There are very clear indications that a majority of organizations remain unprepared for bringing these younger generations into their workforce.  If somehow they manage to get them in, they struggle then to keep them in.

Reason is that they are quite ‘conditioned’ by a long recession.  These younger employees do not believe in job-security and feel they need to be prepared at all times for a new job. They are more directly involved in managing their own careers, and they use social-media technology to network with others so as to find more job-opportunities.

As employer, you are in the danger of loosing the younger generations, even before you begin your recruiting efforts.

No company can afford to make their strategic HR initiative for their baby-boomer (soon to-be retired) employees.  As a consequence, younger generations are now, or will soon become, their source of talent.

Leadership-Competencies are getting harder to find.

If various surveys or researches are any pointer then we can observe that the most critical & sought-after leadership competencies (in order of their importance) are:

  1. Ability to manage change– an important competency for a world now characterized by volatility, uncertainty, complexity, and ambiguity.
  2. Setting Vision and Strategy
  3. Solving problems & making decisions
  4. Developing others
  5. Managing effective teams and work-groups

But how easy is it to find right leaders, can be understood by a quote from Jack Welch of GE,

“Hiring good people is hard.  Hiring great people is brutally hard.”

Remember:  A war for talent will present serious challenges to companies or organizations that have either ignored and been indifferent toward their talent; or worse, treated them poorly through the recent economic downturn and slower recovery. As workforce demographics continue to shift, job opportunities rise, and talent becomes increasingly scarce, organizations unprepared for this New Reality of 2012, may be overcome by the wave of competition for talent.

This workforce has been conditioned by a long, painful recession.   They believe less in job security and more in being prepared at all times to find a new job.  The workforce has evolved into a pool of free agents, where ‘players’ jump from team-to-team, over shorter time periods.   

This is particularly true for ‘actually talented players’ who have more choices. Technology has created broader networks of professional contacts.  Through these contacts the foundations for jumping-ship unfolds.   For the organizations who believe that attracting and retaining talent is only HR’s challenge, the wave of talent leaving them, may be too much to overcome if they are not prepared.

To them, this war for talent is no less real.  

They need no gospel to know that if they wished to survive and thrive, they must accept the existence of the ‘War for Talent’ and meet these challenges head on.

You can download this article (FREE PDF) from:’t-India-Be-Ready-For-A-War-For-Talent

With thanks,

Rajneesh Kumar
Mobile: +91 98106-63271
Join my network of Leaders, Managers, Sales Professionals, Educationists, Trainers, CLO, Management Consultants, Six Sigma Professionals, Marketing Professionals, etc at:

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About Rajneessh Kumar

A Marketing Professional with 16+ years of working experience
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