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ATD Blog

Talent and Skills Management


Thu Aug 16 2012


(From BizCommunity.com) -- The generation of sustainable and strong financial results in businesses and organisations requires the effective management of talent and skills in the long term.

There is a clear link between skilled and motivated staff and high-performing, competitive businesses. Such high-performing and competitive businesses render enhanced customer services to their clients, have sustainable competitive advantages and grow their revenues and market shares consistently.


Successful businesses and organisations have been built by great teams. For example, Microsoft, General Electric, Xerox, Walmart Stores, Boeing, Johnson & Johnson, (Fortune 500 companies); Exxaro, Capitech Bank, Kumba Iron Ore, Sappi, SA Breweries, Sasol, Vodacom, Premier Foods. (SA Top 100 companies).

To build a great company, you need a great team. To have a great team, you need to build one. To build a great team, you need to attract, develop and retain skilled and motivated staff.

Developing leadership

According to the PWC 15th annual global CEO survey 2012, CEOs were asked what activities they would spend more time on. Sixty-six percent of the CEOs said developing leadership and the talent pipeline. Therefore, talent management and skills development remains a priority for many CEOs.

Marijn Dekker, chairman of Bayers AG, said: "But what is interesting and what is changing is that among Western companies, the ability to hire, develop and retain talent in developing economies has become a major point of competitive differentiation."


However, the chronic shortage of key skills remains a huge challenge for businesses around the world as well as here in South Africa. Therefore, the challenges of skills shortages pose a major threat to business growth prospects. All businesses compete for scarce skills from a small pool. In addition, skilled people are highly mobile and companies have difficulty in retaining those skills.

Chronic shortage of skilled people

Because of the chronic shortage of skilled people, businesses were unable to pursue a market opportunity, delayed or cancelled a strategic initiative, dropped production and delivery standards, lost their competitive advantages and cancelled or delayed the expansion of operations, according to the PWC survey.

According to the Reserve Bank's annual economic report "Rising risks for South Africa's slow recovery" as published in the Financial Mail on 25 July, 2012, South Africa's share of exports to the export markets has dropped significantly. The bank's chief economist, Monde Mnyande, said that SA needs to regain international market share. In the early 1960s, its exports were more than 1.5 percent of total world exports. By 2000, that share had dwindled to about 0.5 percent. It has since increased marginally, to almost 0.6 percent, but that was brought about more by increases in world prices of SA's export commodities than by growth in export volumes. In summary, the country's international competitiveness has shrunk over five decades.

Read more.


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