The Global War for Talent

The Global War for Talent

The Global War for Talent

Not all wars are fought in the actual battlefield. In the world of business, i.e., the global economy, contentions happen between enterprising companies, and it involves people—individuals with “talent,” specifically.

As the very same hands that make any commercial enterprise function as a business, the workforce plays an essential role in the company’s growth. Regarded as “assets,” it goes without saying how the employees make for any company’s greatest resource.

While it took until 1997 for the term “war for talent”—as credited to the organization, McKinsey—to be coined, the idea of companies actively competing in acquiring talented employees has long been a long-going phenomenon that sees people going from one side to another and companies from all over endlessly recruiting, year in, year out.

An Unpredictable Phenomenon

But, while there is demand, there is supply, the problem in the ongoing battle for talented people to join the industry lies not in having which company has the right roster or who has the most. Rather, it has become an issue of where to source them and how to keep them as beneficial assets.

The dilemma for needing “talented” people in a company is further exacerbated by the fact that employee retention in the West has become an ostensive problem and that the East is not necessarily producing enough people to become replacements.

Yet, while the need for skilled people in the workforce had always staples in the globalized economy, there has been an incremental growth in their demand given the knowledge-driven nature of the industry. But this is not to say that the demand does not wane from time to time—it does, as influenced by the dynamics that are at play.

The Need to Produce More Talents

In a study conducted by McKinsey back in 2001, it was revealed that most managers that were part of the research—or 72% of them believed that winning the so-called “war for talent” is critical in the business they represent. However, a tiny minority—of 3% of those interviewed—had the confidence about producing the needed talent pool for the next 3 years.

If there is anything that the study mentions, it is that the industry has been lacking that one essential component of any company—the talented employee—and that the effort placed into generating them had been inefficient, relative to the demand.

Some Viable Solutions

Itself at the forefront of the study which conceived the notion of “war for talent,” McKinsey proposed some ideas which it believes would be vital in addressing the problem that is the declining number of talented workers in the industry whose demands for them are mostly staple, if not increasing.

  • Establish a “talent mindset” in the multi-layered aspects of the organization
  • Come up with a so-called Employee Value Proposition that wins over talents
  • Make recruitment for talented individuals a relentless process
  • Build leaders from the existing pool of talents
  • Acknowledge the differences and make due affirmation where needed


  1. An article that rightly defines the global workforce today.

  2. Great article! I think an issue (at least in the USA) is that businesses are not doing enough to keep the talent happy. Many of the things that kept older generations at the same company for decades are not in place now and employees don’t feel the same loyalty to companies.


    The best way to deal with Global War for Talent is to realize that human capital is very important and perform the best way to attain this. Without human capital, there will be no success in a company. Along with this, an employer should do the best way they can to hire employees that would utilize all their efforts and skills needed for the better development of such company. First and foremost, a company should know what particular talent is needed so that they would be able to fit him/her on a position that he/she can perform effectively. This very step of hiring employees should be given more emphasis and importance because there are employees who are already hired in a particular company that are not effective because of skills mismatch. This is true based on my own experience. I am working now on a particular company and I have this one workmate who is not doing well on his job. Instead of being an asset to our company, he became our employer’s liability. He can’t perform well because his knowledge and skills are not fit to his assigned work. This is where proper selection of worker must come in. An employer must not only hire and hire but also think and realize who and what they really need so that they could gain human capital worth investing for.
    Furthermore, to gain human capital as a strategy to win Global War for Talent is to recognize employees in a way of giving them rewards and incentives. These will encourage them to become more effective and motivate them to really help the company develop more. Lastly, the employer should also know how boost the worker’s potentials by exposing them to trainings related to their jobs so that they, themselves will grow as well.

  4. Frances Anne Amantillo

    One of the best strategy to survive the global war for talent is to have a compensation scheme wherein meritocracy of talented employees is rewarded. Furthermore, events that recognizes talented employees is a must. Events like “SM got talent” would encourage employees to participate and be happier in their jobs.

    Nowadays, the company needs to value talented employees to retain them. To do so, it is necessary to give them a sense of fulfillment like recognizing their merits through letters of recognition or plaques.

  5. Frances Anne Amantillo

    One of the best strategy to survive the global war for talent is having a compensation scheme wherein creativity and ingenuity are rewarded. There are companies that reward employees for their meritocracy. In my present company, employees who have done exemplary activities are recognized in the flag ceremony and rewarded and awarded.

  6. Frances Anne Amantillo

    One of the best ways to survive the war for talent is to retain the employees. According to Susan Heathfield, – a Management and Organization Consultant who specializes in Human Resources issues, retaining employees is critical to the long-term health and success of the organization, which is related also to what McKinsey stated above. Nowadays, employees explored to transfer from a company to another just because they haven’t felt of being taken care of which added percentage to the war for talent. As an MBA HR student and in what I have observed, organization including HR should appreciate and provide opportunities to grow and learn and let the employees know that there is a room for career advancement. The organization can retain employees by tapping into their passion and allowing them to focus their time and energy on tasks they can enjoy. An organization may also provide a perception of fairness and equitable treatment for all employees. With that, looking for a replacement for a talent loss will be lessened.

  7. Mark Joseph N. Traje

    It is always an issue and true to all industry that it is hard to “Retain” committed and talented employees than hiring and training them. We can always look for talents, but to retain them is very dependent to the organization they belong with. So, as an MBA HRM student, one strategy I can suggest to fight the Global War for Talent, is to give what the employees deserve such as; increase the wages, improve the benefits and develop a program (outside activity) within the organization that will tickle the interest of the employees. Practicality will dictate us this option, though we have to understand that it requires a big decision from the organization but if this option will keep our talented employees intact, I’d rather go for it. Sound expensive? yet its long term and beneficial.

  8. Pearl Joy Ortiz

    The fierce competition for “the war for talent” for companies to attract and retain employees in the organization
    has been a trend for years. Employees compete for the jobs they desire so as employers compete even more in finding the ablest ones. In the future, technology will replace poorly skilled workers and there will be stiff competition with highly skilled ones.

    In order to survive the global war for talent, Human Resource should have to have a better understanding of good
    talent management to attract the right workers for the organization. Talent management and succession planning work together to ensure the process of recruiting and enhancement of employees for the roles they play in the organization are fulfilled. Continued training and mentoring produce talents that can be better leaders. It is said that the best asset of a company is its people. It is important that Human Resource should prioritize employee retention and job satisfaction to reduce skilled employees from leaving out the company. The competitive labor market attracts or retains workers that offer good compensation pay, benefits, and rewards.

    Unfortunately, some companies don’t invest ahead for the talent they need which leads to critical skills shortages. Some have out-dated methods of planning in forecasting skills that are needed in the future though, I understand that it’s difficult to predict in this uncertain world. Developing talents thru trainings require a lot of money and time but it helps the company to reach its productivity breakthroughs. With this, employees have opportunities to grow and have a better sense of self appreciation/fulfillment for the roles they played.

  9. Lemon Grace Ratone

    One of the many challenges that every organization faces today is on how to retain its most important asset, the employees. Employee retention is a key element to a company’s success. An excellent employee contributes to customer satisfaction, increase productivity and effective planning. Losing a good employee is very costly that affects the many operation of the business. Somehow, this event is an assessment to managers how well they managed employees.
    For me, I believe that competitive benefit package is not the only reason why employee choose to stay. The major reason why most employee retain is the quality of supervision they receive. If the employee is well supervise and being valued by the company through its leaders, inner motivation comes out which creates loyalty and satisfaction. These motivation includes employee empowerment through trainings, coaching, career development and fair treatment to every employee. Job satisfaction results to employee security and empowerment that creates good and talented asset that values loyalty and relationship.
    I agree to the viable solutions of this article, winning the war of talent relies to the company on how well they managed and wisely choose and invest to its people.


    The unemployment rate in the Philippines has risen this 2018 but as an MBA-HRM student, if we are to look further into it, a lot of companies are in need of “talented” people that would be an asset for their company. But what happens when these companies have already hired/recruited these “talented” people? How do the HR Management of a company keep these people and continue to be an asset to the them and not be pirated by other companies and win in the Global war of Talent?
    Employees nowadays are practical and look for stability in their jobs, and so being an HR-we should find ways to keep these “talented” assets to the company by investing in them; give them the pay that they deserve or which is due to them. If they are well-compensated, transferring to other companies would never cross their minds. Another strategy would be supporting their individual development; may it be through seminars or trainings or even through their further studies to enhance their “talents”. Learning is a continuous process that could serve the employees’ interests as well as the organizations. Lastly, would be showing your employees future career path. This could motivate them to work extra hard to reach that goal or position in the company. These kinds of employees would learn the company’s efforts in making them feel valuable and they are being treated as great assets to the company they work with.

  11. Analie Joy A. Soriaga

    Global war for talent is indeed one of the challenges companies (more so with the HR Department) are facing. With the help of jobsites, referrals and the like, sourcing for applicants is quite easy nowadays, however, acquiring or recruiting the best, talented and potential employees is a problem. (Being able to hire, develop and retain an employee). That is where the war for talent comes in.

    As an MBA-HR Student and an HR practitioner, the best strategy/ies to survive the global war of talents are the following ideas (which is also related to what McKinsey suggested):
    1. Promotion from within – since workforce is the bloodline of every company, they must be taken cared of, trained and developed. Employees who feel that the company is “for” them and that they are appreciated are the employees who are likely to stay.
    2. Creating Employee value proposition – employees now adays especially the millenials, compared to the older generations, work expecting that the company has so much to offer them. They are more attracted to companies who value them and rewards them for their good performance.
    3. Lastly, i agree with McKinsey said that HR or companies should make recruitment for talented individuals a relentless process. This is actually my motto in recruiting. Never cease to source more applicants, compare and get the best of them all.

  12. In today’s fast changing Global economy, war of talents is one big
    trend that challenges manager to find, hire, retain and develop their employees.
    As technology replaces low-skilled workers , “ brain drain’ us being predicted to happen by 2020 according to McKinsey, where the supply of high-skilled and college – educated workers will be a problem.
    As a student and practicing human resource manager, it’s a great opportunity for me to accept this as a challenge, rather than a threat, because as the scarcity on the pool of human resources, the institution
    has the option to ‘ maje or buy’, that is train or hire employees wuth the needed skills.
    I opt to train, rather than hire, because as experienced, nabagi and supervising employees everyday, you can see their performance as well as, their strength and weaknesses, their behavior and attitude towards their work.
    On the other hand, huribg an employee based qualification standards set by the company, will not guarantee that you will hire the employee fitted fir the job, since you just simply based the data on the documents submitted by the applicants as well as the interview conducted.
    Thus, keeping the ‘best employee’ in the company must be taken into consideration, especially that increasing demand in developing countries will likely lead to employees resignation searching for greener pasture that will create a massive shortage of skilled and qualified workers.

  13. Iranne Teriz G. Chainani

    Keeping people with excellent skills is very crucial to a business or organization . There are a lot of factors to consider and one of that is the workers’ preferences when it comes to work management. Talent acquisitions have been considering a lot of steps when it comes to managing talents. In this very competitive world, a lot of strategies have been adapted and applied to improve the horizon in businesses and organizations. Therefore, we must all be mindful of each viable solutions.

  14. Jenny Barros

    As an MBA-HR student, I feel one of the best strategies to survive the Global War on Talent is two prongs!
    First is to is discover and ascertain within the existing staff pool the potential talents and leaders of the future. Nurture them, train them, give them opportunity for further development, knowledge and experience but enrolling them in outside course, making them feel valued and respected, showing them a clear career path and bright future should they stick with the organization, making sure at the same time, their compensation package is on par with what is offered outside. The HR department should be acutely aware of the competition compensation packages and make sure the company does not lag behind. Sometimes company head cringes on increasing spending but HR should present it as an investment in the future. It is one of the keys to success.

    The second part of the strategy should be to bring in fresh blood with fresh ideas and experiences from outside. Again this is a two prongs strategy. The first part is to understand the business the organization is into, know your competitors well, inside and out, even befriend some of their staff as to glean information on that company’s rising star. Then at the opportune moment approach them with a compensation package that may entice them to come over. The second path is to link up with educational institutions like Universities, Colleges, organize some events, present and showcase the company and possible career path, interview students in their final years, possibly helping financially some of the brightest against a contract for a minimum of 5 years and a very easy repayment plan. Passing advertising also in the students’ gazettes or similar publication may be helpful and costs are low. Finally showcase the company in the social media, indicating a clear career path and various opportunities available.

    I believe this two prongs strategy is a sure win for a stable and growing talent pool for now and in the future.

  15. Rodolfh D. Doruelo

    Now a days the world is competitive, global war for talent has become extensive in the world of business, management or organization need to compete in each other to catch or attract those who are qualified and talented person. Many of the organization or institution have that dilemma and are finding solution on how to address those issues.
    Global war for talent is challeging issue in the organization or instituiton; they need to build a good image or a good quality of treatment in thier organization to entice those talented person. You need to sacrifice a lot to aim or get your goal. And that’s the nature of the game, if you will win or lose in looking for talented people.
    For me the best strategy to survive in Global war for talent is to give the best in attracting those qualified and talented people. Continue to look or find those people who have the capability or capacity that is suited in the company or institution. Through thay way the organization will easily get employee who is suited in thier organization and in return can offer good back pay to those who are hired in thier organization. The organization must have a good fringe benefits and salary to make the employees motivated and that’s one of the reason why they stay longer in the organization. In addition, adressing the global war for talent is to care and retain those employees who are talented and effective in the work place. Provide them with assurances of benefits and a good salary, for them not to look for another organization and must give an appropriate trainings and development to further enhance their knowledge and skills. And the most important thing is to let the employee who are effective and efficient in the company feel thay they are essential part of the organization because without them the organization cannot lead into successful and systematic organization. Through that way management will no longer look or find replacement for another talented employee because you already have one in your organization. I believed that if you care for your employees the employees will do good and take care of your company, therefore if the employees and the management have that mutual relationship it will become a successful and stronger working relationship to the both employees and management.

  16. Rustom M. Padios

    The Global war for talent is not just the problem of multinational corporations, even small organizations are experiencing difficulty when it comes to finding talents that will fit the need of the organization. A lot has been said about the different ways and means on how to stop or at least minimize shortages when it comes to the need of talent in the workplace.
    I personally believe that the best way for an organization to respond to this dilemma is to focus on continuous effort in attracting employees from the external environment and commitment to employee development.

    Attracting employees externally is a very challenging task for every organization; they need to make sure that the organization is attractive enough to catch the attention of potential talent from the outside. Some of the aspects the organization can work on is to emphasize on their competitive compensation package, good company image, friendly organizational culture, and conducive working environment. Employees need are unique, thus, both extrinsic and intrinsic motivation must be considered in attracting talent from the outside. As said, it’s a war for talent, the company that can offer the best compensation package will always have an edge from its adversaries.

    Aside from attracting talent from the outside, organization needs to have commitment when it comes to employee development. Sometimes, the talent we need is already available inside, waiting to be tapped and nurtured. Organization which develop talent from within has an edge over its adversaries knowing that employee loyalty is already there. Employee training and development must be one of the organization’s priority if it wanted to remain competitive in the global business arena. If you cannot win talent from the outside, then develop an employee with the talent you need.

    Organizations should invest in its people. Human Resource is the key.

  17. Mizpah A. Villamor

    For me, the best way to survive the “Global War for Talent” is to start first with what the company already has. The HR of the company should make efforts to retain the talent it has employed at the present. The company can do this by offering enhancement trainings so that the employees will see a career path within the company, minimizing the need for replacement in the future. Second, the company can offer attractive, or if not, a just compensation to its present and possible talent. Many talents leave or turn down an offer because they seek a “greener pasture” or great deal with what they can offer. Third is, the company can link with institutions that train talents they are looking for, like a school or a university. In this way, it can have a steady supply of talents from these training institutions and could possibly give suggestions on the kind of output that it need from a talent or talent performance.

    A practical example I have witnessed in this global war of talent is the diaspora of Filipino nurses. I believe the lack of career path has contributed to the migration of nurses around the world. The big compensation offered by other countries largely influenced many nurses to grab the offer in spite of the difficulties of being away from their families. Other hospitals have tied up with educational institutions to answer the need of more work force, temporarily. We produced world class nurses yet, our very own hospitals lack nurses because of low salary.

    I very much agree with what was suggested at the end of this article. The best asset a company has is its people. If the company, through its HR, invests in its people, it may discover hidden talents that will impact the company big time.

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