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The War for Talents Continues

The “War For Talent” study was officially launched in 1998 when McKinsey & Company, America’s largest and most prestigious management-consulting firm, published their now-famous report proclaiming that “better talent is worth fighting for” (Chambers et al., 1998: 45).  Almost 6,000 managers and executives from 77 companies from variety of industries participated in the study. In late 1990s, companies were struggling to hire and retain the people they needed. The so called ‘talents’ were offered big bonuses, demanded unreasonable salary raise and head hunters were cornering hot recruits before they had even settled behind their desks. McKinsey’s research concluded that the most important corporate resource over the next 20 years would be smart, sophisticated business people who are technologically literate, globally astute, and operationally agile.

I must say that the trend haven’t change since then. Companies in certain industries still compete intensely for the limited supply of professionals particularly competent managers. The demand for top managerial talent is still strong, despite the recent slowing down in the economy. Furthermore, switching company after 2 – 3 years is quite common nowadays since the talents have come to recognized the advantage of speedy career progression and income due to industry demand. The growth and competition among job portals; such as and, also entices more people to hop from job to job. Together with the facilities made available in the portals, such as job and salary matching, location maps and company insights that give information such as the company’s culture, working hours, dress code, benefits and common language spoken at the workplace, this has made job hopping much more easier and have thus, attracted many candidates.

Professional social media platform such as Linkedin allows people to create a highly professional profile as an electronic résumé. This includes writing a succinct profile summary, adding current job and past experiences, educations, skills, awards, and even obtaining testimonials from 3rd parties. Headhunting potential job candidates in this platform becomes a common ground and will continue to grow.

“Too young and too soon”

While the War for Talents continues, more and more people would rather switch company to earn more but what is missing is the experience that can weaken the leadership roles in the organization. Serious thought must be put in place in implementing talent management and create a strong succession planning in the organisation. More assessments and analysis need to be conducted to ensure that the right talent is recruited not only based on their current position in their previous company but also the experience that comes with it. For small to medium size companies, the recruitment processes to determine and match the right candidates to the right job can be a challenge. More and more organizations have started to utilise Recruitment Process Outsourcing (RPO) arrangements as a long-term strategic initiative especially to help them identify critical talent for positions which are tied to organizational performance and productivity. The strategic benefit of using an RPO is to extend talent acquisition beyond the existing channels like job boards or social media marketing via a strong and quality sourcing approach. This will result in a better pool of quality candidates, and helps organizations gain competitive edge in the marketplace.

Do get in touch with Q3 Management Solutions for the management, recruitment and administration support and this could be the beginning of a long-term outsourcing relationship.


Chambers, E., Foulon, M., Handfield-Jones, H., Hankin, S., Michaels III, E., 1998. The war for talent. The McKinsey Quarterly 3, 44–57.
Ed Michaels, Helen Handfield-Jones, Beth Axelrod. The war for talent. Harvard Business School Press Boston, Massachusetts
Recruiting, Reinvented: How Companies Are Using Social Media In The Hiring Process


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