Careers: The Global War for Talent

Globalization is ushering in a new era of competition – for talent. As a result, organizations will be hard-pressed to attract and retain key IT talent

Gartner last week reported that as many as 60 percent of IT organizations won’t be able to perform up to their full potential because they’re unable to attract and retain key employees. Globalization is ushering in a new era of competition, according to Gartner, and organizations aren’t adapting quickly enough to keep pace with it—at least when it comes to attracting and retaining IT talent.

Gartner cites ongoing technology innovation and changing work demographics as other key contributors to what might be called an impending talent crunch. “The search for talented employees continues to become more difficult and nothing companies have done in the past will suffice,” said Diane Morello, vice-president and Gartner fellow, in a prepared release. “The workplace of the future will require more imagination, more commitment, and more cutting-edge action than most enterprises have faced before. … Talented people fuel growth, innovation, and excellence.”

Morello predicts that innovators will embrace non-traditional work patterns, such as telecommuting, as well as the still-gestating ecosystems of blogs and social networks, as they try to keep top talent or vie to attract new IT personnel. What’s more, Gartner predicts, organizations must be prepared to source talented employees globally, not just locally.

By 2015, Gartner predicts, people will spend more than 80 percent of their time working collaboratively—perhaps across ten or more virtual teams. Furthermore, over half of Fortune 2000 organizations will have multi-sourced workforces that span the globe, Gartner indicates.

The biggest change for many IT organizations will be the emergence of what Gartner calls a “pull-based” technology model. In the past, the market watcher points out, it was the business that decided which technology-based services, software, and equipment its employees required.

Over the next decade, however, a new “pull” approach will emerge. In this schema, workers will increasingly behave as consumers—assuming, in the process, a high degree of control over their work, peers, resources, and workplace environment. One consequence of this is that employees will use more of their own assets to collaborate with their coworkers.

“In our parents' and grandparents' generations, a person typically worked many years for one company. The combination of global communication, personal devices, location-independent technologies, and weakening employment security have introduced new employment options for digital natives, which will come fully into play in the next five to ten years,” Morello said.

As a result, Morello outlined six new rules for the workplace of the future:

  1. Quality of peers will matter.
  2. Competition for qualified IT talent will be global.
  3. Traditional employment model will undergo fundamental change.
  4. The emergence of a kind of controlled anarchy—a radical workplace individualism in which no two people approach work in the same way.
  5. Talented people will continue to move around.
  6. The gap between leaders and followers will continue to widen.

“Although the rate and scope of work-related change will vary, no organization will be immune,” Morello argued. “All organizations must get into a competitive condition. We predict that recruiting, engaging, and refreshing the most talented employees and the most relevant workforce will lie at the very heart of future business success.”

About the Author

Stephen Swoyer is a Nashville, TN-based freelance journalist who writes about technology.