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Survey from Harvard Business School Examines Global War for Talent

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Wed Jun 26 2013

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According to Harvard Business Review’s  2012 global survey of corporate directors, conducted in partnership with WomenCorporateDirectors and Heidrick & Struggles, the vast majority of board members said their companies are hiring in double-digits and across the globe. 

The recent HBR Blog Network post, “New Research: Where the Talent Wars Are Hottest” briefly reviews which world regions and industries are generating the greatest demand for talent to help organizational leaders determine whether their companies are prepared to defend their talent from aggressive raids by competitors.

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For the latest global data, HBR surveyed to more than 1,000 board members in 59 countries. U.S. boards made up 37 percent of the sample, while 62 percent of boards represented were from outside of the U.S. Data was analyzed along several dimensions, including geography and industry. 

Specifically, the analysis conducted a geographical breakout by eight major world regions: Asia; Africa; Australia and New Zealand; Eastern Europe & Russia; Latin America; the Middle East; North America; and Western Europe (due to low sample size or domination by one or few countries in a region, analysis excluded three regions, Africa, Latin America and the Middle East, from the findings).  The industry breakout was conducted using eight major sectors: Consumer Discretionary, Consumer Staples, Energy & Utilities, Financials, Health Care, Industrials, IT & Telecommunications, and Materials. 

According to the data, the majority of companies in every region are hiring, but more companies in Australia & New Zealand, and North America plan to hire than many other regions. Meanwhile, the two industry sectors planning to bring on more employees are materials and IT & telecommunications. 

After reviewing the data, Harvard Business School professor Boris Groysberg and Deborah Bell, a researcher of organizational behavior, write that “while companies are still hiring in emerging markets, more are committed to hiring in their home regions, especially in Asia where 100 percent of companies plan to hire within the region. We also find that companies in developed areas plan to hire in other developed regions (e.g., North America in Western Europe and vice versa) and many countries in developing regions are moving into developed regions (e.g., Asia into North America).” 

Groysberg and Bell conclude that this presents a special challenge for Western European companies, which are “struggling most to establish great talent management practices, among them hiring, assessing, rewarding, and firing talent.” More important, “given the predominance of hiring across all regions, defending one's best and brightest against encroaching competitors must be a top priority.” 

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To learn more and view survey tables, read “New Research: Where the Talent Wars Are Hottest.” The authors’ post, “Talent Management: Boards Give Their Companies an F,” also offers global analysis of talent management.  

To learn more and view survey tables, read “New Research: Where the Talent Wars Are Hottest.” The authors’ post, “Talent Management: Boards Give Their Companies an F,” also offers global analysis of talent management.

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