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Send  Share  RSS  Twitter  19 May 2011

HR: ManpowerGroup Identifies the Dawn Of the Human Age


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Talent is the New “it” as Human Potential Rises Up as the New Driver of Economic Growth

ManpowerGroup. (NYSE:MAN), world leader in innovative workforce solutions, announced at the World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland, the dawn of a new world era, the Human Age.

Previous eras were defined first by the raw materials that transformed them – the Stone Age, Bronze Age and Iron Age, then they were characterised by the domains people conquered with ever-improving technology – the Industrial Age, Space Age and Information Age. Now we’re entering a new age: The Human Age. Manpower confirms that this new reality has significant implications both for employers and for individuals, as human potential now becomes the major agent of economic growth. The world is experiencing an era of great transformation, where business models will have to be redesigned, value propositions redefined and social systems reinvented. Existing models and social systems have been strained to the point that they’re no longer sustainable. The resulting chaos and post-recession pressure to do more with less is creating a very challenging environment.

Some of the world’s most powerful business, political and academic leaders attend the World Economic Forum Annual Meeting, which provides an unrivalled platform to shape the global agenda and catalyse solutions at the start of each year.

“Our ability as companies, as governments and of course as individuals to adjust to this new reality, this new way of doing things, will depend upon to what extent we can tap into inner human potential – talent has become the key differentiator,” said Jeffrey A. Joerres, Chairman and CEO of ManpowerGroup. “Understanding how to unleash this spirit, passion and potential is not a one-size-fits-all approach and will require employers to engage with their people on a human level.”

Global forces also at play, including the recession, rapid technological development, a shifting demographic landscape and the rise in power of emerging markets are conspiring to bring about the Human Age, and the velocity of change is increasing. The effects of these forces can be felt everywhere including in South Africa.

Peter Winn, Manpower South Africa Managing Director comments, “Through the recession and now into the recovery, many organisations have streamlined and redefined their people practices, cutting costs while driving efficiency. Consequently, many companies have come to realise that if they are able to unlock the potential of the right people in the right place, they can achieve all they did before and more – even in a challenging environment.”

“This pressure is driving innovation and passion in a way never seen before” continues Winn. “We are hearing from our clients that the right talent is more important than ever, but at the same time, talent is becoming a scarce resource; employers are struggling with a mismatch - finding the right talent in the right place at the right time, despite relatively high levels of unemployment.” According to Manpower’s most recent Talent Shortage Survey of more than 35,000 employers across 36 countries, more than 30% are struggling to fill key jobs that are vital to the success of their organisation. In South Africa, employers named Skilled Trades as the most difficult positions to fill, moving up from 13th place in 2009. This is followed by talent shortages in Engineers, Management/Executives (Management/Corporate), Sales Representative and Teachers jobs. With a growing talent shortage in Chefs/Cooks positions, it has been ranked as the 7th most difficult position to fill, up from 19th place in 2009.

“Talent isn’t just people, it’s more than people,” commented Winn. “It’s the person that fits what you need right now; the skills, the behaviours, the way of operating; the ability to operate in a chaotic, global environment. Talent is specific. In the past, for companies to grow their business, they needed access to capital. What we’re seeing now and what we’re hearing from the companies we’re dealing with is that in order to get ahead you have to have access to talent – not just capital. As this process evolves, we’ll see capitalism shifting to talentism, and access to talent, rather than capital, become the definitive competitive advantage.”

In the Human Age, it is more important than ever that companies take the time to understand exactly what their talent needs will be, not just now but five or ten years down the line - and align their talent strategy closely with their business strategy. Then, they must become more agile in terms of how they attract, retain and develop their employees. Employers need to ensure that they update their work models and people practices to allow them to unlock the potential that they need to thrive in this new reality.

Technology and the growth of social media have led to a new level of transparency and the ability to directly engage and have a human-to-human conversation with almost anyone – whether as employer to employee or retailer to consumer.

The Human Age presents a challenging and exciting opportunity for organisations to leverage the potential of their greatest asset – their people – to drive the business forward. The recession, combined with advances in technology, expectations of business transparency and social mobility, have brought us to the cusp of a new age. Now, governments, businesses and individuals must work together to unleash the potential of the human spirit, that will help us to make sense of this new era.

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