SOURCE: The Boston Consulting Group
April 14, 2008 07:00 ET
Executives Worldwide See Talent Gaps as Top People Challenge in Every Region and Industry
Global Survey of 4,741 Executives in 83 Countries and Markets -- Conducted by The Boston Consulting Group, World Federation of Personnel Management Associations, and Society for Human Resource Management -- Identifies HR Priorities of Today and the Future
LONDON--(Marketwire - April 14, 2008) - Managing talent is the most critical human resources
(HR) challenge worldwide and will remain at or near the top of executive
agendas in every region and industry for the foreseeable future, according
to a new global study conducted by The Boston Consulting Group (BCG), the
World Federation of Personnel Management Associations (WFPMA), and the
Society for Human Resource Management (SHRM). Key findings of the report,
"Creating People Advantage: How to Address HR Challenges Worldwide Through
2015," will be presented today at the WFPMA World HR Congress in London.
The study, which is based on a global survey of 4,741 executives in 83
countries and markets, found that managers worldwide also rated improving
leadership development and managing work-life balance as urgent priorities.
The report provides rankings and analyses of 17 HR challenges in seven
major regions of the world and suggests specific actions to address those
"The study, the most comprehensive review of global HR practices ever
conducted, provides piercing insight into the current and future challenges
facing companies," said Florent Francoeur, president and CEO of WFPMA, one
of the world's leading HR organizations.
In the United States, managing talent and improving leadership development
emerged as the two most critical people challenges, followed by managing
demographics and managing change and cultural transformation. Nearly
one-half of U.S. executives said that they expect their companies to source
talent globally by 2015, compared with just one-fifth of companies in 2007.
Similarly, 21 percent of U.S. executives said that their companies will be
moving businesses to new locations to access talent by 2015, compared with
just 8 percent of companies in 2007.
"It may soon be harder to find and keep talented employees than to raise
money in an IPO," said Rainer Strack, a BCG partner and one of the report's
authors. "In the West, work forces are graying, while in developing
markets, companies have an unquenchable thirst for skilled employees.
Creating a 'people advantage' will increasingly translate into competitive
Other Challenges: Improving Leadership and Work-Life Balance
Improving leadership also ranked as a top three HR challenge in 10 of the
17 focus countries, including developed nations such as the United Kingdom
and Japan as well as emerging markets such as China and India.
Managing work-life balance was rated a key future challenge in every region
except the Pacific Region and a top-three priority in Argentina and Chile,
Brazil, Canada, India, Italy, Singapore, and South Africa. Flexible work
arrangements are the cornerstone of almost all work-life balance
initiatives. Worldwide, more than 60 percent of executives said that their
companies already offered flexible working hours, and nearly 80 percent
said that they planned to do so by 2015. Offering part-time work was the
second-most popular future action by employers.
"The days of company-loyalty-at-all-costs are over," noted Andrew Dyer,
global leader of BCG's Organization practice and another author of the
report. "Employees, especially the most talented ones, often make career
choices based on factors such as flexible work hours and emotional
Disparate Views on Demographic Risks
While some issues were nearly universally important, others varied widely
across geographic locations. Managing demographics, for example, was the
fourth-highest priority overall, but executives in different countries
offered strongly varying assessments of its importance. Those in the United
States, Canada, Australia, and much of Europe (particularly Germany,
France, and Italy) rated it a pressing issue. By contrast, Japanese
executives, who have been grappling with the effects of an aging work force
for years, did not rank it as a key HR priority.
"Many executives don't realize the serious problems they could face from a
loss of knowledge and productivity if they don't start preparing today for
labor shortages in five or ten years," Strack said. "They should analyze
capacity and productivity risks for each location, unit, and job type and
then develop a series of measures to mitigate anticipated shortfalls."
To receive a copy of the report or arrange an interview with one of the
authors, please contact Eric Gregoire at + 1 617 850 3783 or
About the Methodology of the Study
BCG and the European Association for Personnel Management (EAPM) conducted
the Web survey in Europe through January 2007, receiving 1,355 responses
from HR and other executives in 27 European countries. In conjunction with
that survey, during May 2007, we interviewed 102 senior executives in
Europe. Between September and November 2007, a global Web survey was
conducted in cooperation with the WFPMA, eliciting an additional 3,386
responses from participants in 56 countries and markets. The SRHM assisted
with data collection for the survey in the United States. This survey was
rounded out with 118 interviews with executives from those countries. In
all, the two Web surveys elicited 4,741 responses from 83 countries, and
BCG conducted 220 interviews with senior executives.
About The Boston Consulting Group
The Boston Consulting Group (BCG) is a global management consulting firm
and the world's leading advisor on business strategy. We partner with
clients in all sectors and regions to identify their highest-value
opportunities, address their most critical challenges, and transform their
businesses. Our customized approach combines deep insight into the dynamics
of companies and markets with close collaboration at all levels of the
client organization. This ensures that our clients achieve sustainable
competitive advantage, build more capable organizations, and secure lasting
results. Founded in 1963, BCG is a private company with 66 offices in 38
countries. For more information, please visit www.bcg.com.
About the World Federation of Personnel Management Associations
The World Federation of Personnel Management Associations (WFPMA) is a
global network of professionals in people management. It was founded in
1976 to aid the development and improve the effectiveness of professional
people management all over the world. Its members are predominantly the
continental federations, which are made up of more than 70 national
personnel associations representing over 400,000 people-management
professionals. For more information, please visit www.wfpma.com.
The BCG report "Creating People Advantage: How to Address HR Challenges
Worldwide Through 2015" highlights key HR issues in seven regions of the
globe. The regions are: North America, Latin America, Europe, Africa,
Emerging Asia, Established Asia, and the Pacific Region.
The study also provides a summary of the findings in 17 focus countries.
-- United States
-- Argentina and Chile
-- United Kingdom
-- South Africa
-- South Korea
In addition, the report contains snapshots of 29 additional countries and
markets. The remaining countries are not highlighted in the report because
they were represented by fewer than 20 respondents.