4 Things We Learned about the War for Talent
Written by Clare Ryan
AUGUST 10, 2022
From the “Great Resignation” to the “War for Talent,” nearly every organization I speak with is struggling to hire and retain the right talent to meet their business objectives. In response, C-level executives across Evanta’s communities are prioritizing the talent crisis this year, and our Governing Body Members have ensured its place on the agenda at our programs around the world.
This isn’t necessarily a new problem, but the events of the past two years have escalated the situation to unprecedented heights, and there are now more job postings than there are skilled employees to fill them. According to Gartner, “All talent segments are in scope, with 17 of 20 [business] functions in August 2021 reporting their highest demand ever for talent.”
With a spotlight on this issue, we wanted to get better insight into how executives are addressing it, and we surveyed 700 C-level Evanta community members on this topic. We started by simply asking if their organization has more open positions now than in years’ past, and a staggering 71% responded that they do.
Here are 4 learning from our pulse survey:
1. What’s Causing the War for Talent?
It’s nearly a tie for the top spot. Supply and demand being out of balance (58%) just surpasses the evolution of the new world of work (57%).
In the comments, many business leaders mentioned how a surge in digitalization efforts tipped the scale for the supply and demand for qualified candidates. One CIO stated, “There is a huge demand for newer skills and a shortage of workers. Cloud is an example of this.” Another executive shared, “It's a result of technology skill requirements changing faster than people can reskill.”
As for the evolution of the new world of work, one executive noted, “People have reevaluated their priorities and are migrating towards organizations that offer the pay and flexibility that match up with their priorities.” Another emphasized the power shift between employees and employers, saying, “Employees have experienced a better way to work and have inverted the control hierarchy.”
2. Will the Talent Crisis End Anytime Soon?
Across the enterprise, 40% of executives indicated that a talent shortage will remain for the foreseeable future, followed by 28% of respondents who believe it will last more than a year.
When the results are broken down by business function, there is some discrepancy in responses. Only 33% of CHROs believe the talent crisis will remain this way for the foreseeable future, while 50% believe it will last 6-12 months or more than a year. On the other hand, almost 50% of CISOs believe the war for talent will remain this way for the foreseeable future.
3. What About the Economy?
With a recession looming, we asked executives if they believe finding talent will still be difficult if a recession is formally declared later this year. The majority of executives (65%) said yes, talent will still be an issue.
In the comments, many executives detailed how a recession could impact their business. One shared how it may bring some relief, but there will still be challenges. He stated, “While this may make it easier to retain staff, I don't think that it will make it easy to recruit into new areas - e.g., new skill sets that are required. So recruiting to develop the team's capabilities, especially in key areas of talent, will continue to be difficult.”
A few executives disclosed how a recession may open new opportunities for their organizations. One explained, “We are in for a long-term recession in 2023. Unemployment will rise. This is when we will begin our search for our first-pick talent choices.”
Another believes a recession may restore their in-person workplace culture, sharing, “For a company that believes strongly in office culture, we are trying to compete against many organizations that offer a more flexible work environment. We actually believe that a recession may help us.”
4. Is this Different from the Great Resignation?
Last year, we surveyed Evanta’s C-level executive communities about the implications of the Great Resignation, and during this survey on the war for talent, we asked if they are thinking about these issues differently. With hundreds of responses, there seems to be some consensus that the current situation is an evolution of the Great Resignation - with this phase being long-term and more focused on a lack of skills compared to the mass exodus of employees seen in recent years.
On a positive note, many executives shared that since this is an ongoing issue they now have a better grasp on the matter, and they are developing toolkits to adapt accordingly. Here are some of their insightful remarks:
The Great Resignation felt more knee-jerk. This feels like a sustained period of change - different demographics wanting different things, crazy packages being offered, etc.”
The Great Resignation was out of our control. The race for talent involves aspects of our offerings as employers that are very much within our control. As a result, we're paying close attention to what we're doing and how that impacts our ability to recruit and retain our people.”
I look at the Great Resignation as an increase in talent mobility (people are looking for something new or different). I see the race for talent as more specifically looking for the required talent to create a future-fit organization. There are some overlaps, but each has its own drivers.”
The Great Resignation came primarily as a reaction to people realizing you should 'work to live' not 'live to work'... So if you address people's ability to get the right balance and be flexible around their life needs, we are hoping to stem attrition and resignations.”
There are so many interesting findings in our pulse survey, and I wish I could share them all with you here. You can see the high-level results, including information about recruitment and retention strategies, in our infographic.
If you are a C-level executive navigating the war on talent, explore an opportunity to collaborate with your peers or join a community at Evanta.com.
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