November 2013
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TD Magazine

Talent Retention Is a Global Challenge

Friday, November 8, 2013

Population shifts mean that attrition is a constant threat for companies worldwide.


A high percentage of employees worldwide (23 percent in the United States alone) plan to leave their current positions next year. A study by AchieveGlobal, a business skills training firm, found that population shifts are having significant effects on talent retention.

In the West, Baby Boomers are retiring in droves. In Europe, vacancies are multiplying due to low birth and immigration rates, resulting in a deficit of younger workers. In China, the one-child policy also has led to an employee deficit; its aging workforce is stretched even tighter over its expanding markets.

Education trends also are having profound affects on talent retention, with certain degrees being highly popular in some regions, and the increasing prevalence of partnerships between education and enterprise to equip students for the job market.

The study, which surveyed 738 managers worldwide, found that retention issues affect organizations differently from one geographic region to the next. In the United States and Asia, managers reported that their highest levels of attrition occur in employees younger than 25, followed by midlevel and frontline managers.


Meanwhile, in Europe, attrition rates are particularly severe for IT professionals and frontline managers (although managers in Europe also were more likely to report that retention is not an issue for their companies).

Managers worldwide agreed on the three top causes of attrition:

  • insufficient compensation and benefits
  • lack of growth and development opportunities
  • lack of recognition for achievements by management.

Managers worldwide also agreed on the best ways to combat attrition: reversing the three causes above, and adding a fourth strategy—ensuring a healthy work-life balance. The study adds that providing development opportunities for key employees and incentives that strengthen employee loyalty are two must-haves for an effective retention strategy.

About the Author

Stephanie Castellano is a former writer/editor for the Association for Talent Development (ATD). She is now a freelance writer based in Gainesville, Florida.

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