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Looking out to 2020!

War for Talent – a term coined and researched by McKinsey & Company starting in 1997.  The conclusion – key talent for many roles was going to be in short supply.  Fast forward (there was certainly more in between) to 2003.  A book was written, Impending Crisis – Too Many Jobs; Too Few People, by Roger Herman, Tom Olivo and Joyce Gioia.  The theme, as the title stated, was that the work by McKinsey was going to come true and already had in certain fields (nursing, pharmacy, etc.).

The theme continued . . . . .

By 2004, books on a related topic had started to appear.  Lost Knowledge, written by David DeLong, talked about our aging workforce and the issues surrounding offers of early retirement and the lack of preparation for the knowledge/organizational wisdom that was walking (retiring) out the door. One more (for the moment) – in 2006, the book Workforce Crisis: How to Beat the Coming Shortage of Skills and Talent came out (written by Ken Dychtwald, Robert Morison and Tamara Erickson).  The theme was the same – the coming brain drain caused by the baby boomers leaving the workforce.

Unemployment by Education Level

I have reported here (and through Twitter) the unemployment rate for people that are 25+ and have a 4-year degree or higher.  For June 2011, it is 4.4%, not the 9.2% number that is reported for the general population.  (Go to for details.)

And now we look to the 2020 horizon from 2011!

A special thank-you goes out to Deloitte – they have posted two installments of their Talent Edge 2020 report on their website.  My favorite statement from their work is from their second installment.  It states, “Now that the economy is growing again, corporate executives and talent managers may be tempted to believe that the talent market has returned to normal . . . . . “  That said, their key findings lead to a very different conclusion:
  • The high unemployment rates have not created the predicted talent surplus.
  • Many executives are concerned about their leadership pipelines.
  • Baby boomers expressed the strongest discontent with their employers.
  • Generation X employees are the most likely group to look outside of their current employment.
The study’s conclusion was clear – employers that proactively address their talent, leadership and retention programs will likely be rewarded with more satisfied employees who want to remain with their company.