Magazine article Workforce Management

The Talent Crisis Is Real

Magazine article Workforce Management

The Talent Crisis Is Real

Article excerpt

IN THE MAIL | from our readers

Editor's note: John Hollon's blog -posting and Last Word on the debate over whether there actually is a talent shortage drew more than 50 responses. Two of them are here. More can be found at

THANKS FOR KEEPING debates on important topics like this alive ("Silencing the alarmists," August 20). We need to be much more critical as a profession about claims of trends such as the talent shortage.

Whether there will be a physical shortage of workers is probably not the key issue, however. (Although, in contrast to the few anecdotal examples you cite of why there won't be a talent shortage, the demographic data is fact-based and compelling. Unless every single person slated to retire actually works for a meaningful portion of their retirement, there will be fewer workers than needed to meet the growth needs of companies.)

The issue as I see it is the quality of the workers we have, especially the competitiveness of our leaders. Based on my experience in both the consulting and corporate environment, it seems that companies in developing countries (India, China, many Eastern European nations) are much more serious about building great leaders than we are. They are aggressively investing in good, basic leadership development - developmental assignments, projects, self-awareness - and they're doing this with more commitment and a greater investment of time than many Western companies.

So, whether there will be a physical shortage of talent may be a moot point if the talent we will have can't compete.

Marc Effron,

Vice president, talent management

Avon Products

New York

WHILE I AGREE that boomers in some areas may keep working as long as their health permits, in others they will not. Notable among the areas that will be hardest hit is the public sector. With traditional defined-benefit pensions and early-retirement incentives, teachers, for example, are opting out in record numbers. …

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