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War for Talent – Is it over in Europe?


It seems a long way back when, in 1997, the term “War for Talent” was first coined and developed by Steven Hakin of McKinsey & Company. Mr. Hakin’s revolutionary viewpoint occasioned HR professionals to move beyond existing paths in HR processes, evolving towards a mindset emphasizing in particular the importance of talent for the success of organizations.

Benefits of diversity and international experience

Recent research by Katherine W. Philips – professor at Kellogg School of Management and key opinion leaders on impact of diversity – finds that socially different group members do more than simply introduce new viewpoints or approaches. Her research reveals that diverse groups outperform (even without an influx of new ideas) more homogeneous groups, because diversity triggers more careful information processing, which is not the case in homogeneous groups).  Diversity is considered in a broad sense, in terms of ethnic background, industry or geographical experience, gender, etc.

The ‘War  for Talent’, fast-forward to 2015 in bullet points:

  • Loss of knowledge and valuable talent. Lots of professionals from the baby boom generation cease their professional activity, whilst new graduates struggle to enter the labor market in most countries in Europe.
  • From ‘cut’ to ‘growth’. We witness a shift where governments, companies, and society in general realize that we can not simply ‘cut’ our way to growth. Any cut – even when knowing/seeing what one cuts – is painful, obviously. It is observed that cuts do not ignite growth. Growth is more abstract and complex, because one has to visualize what is not yet there. Furthermore, one has to imagine how to get there and  translate this into actions.
  • International growth keeps accelerating. The share of international commerce and inter-dependence across economies has continued growing over the last 5 years.
  • International mobility remains limited. Moves of professionals across countries still prove difficult, due to a number of reasons, ranging from language barriers, incompatibility of qualifications, risk-avoidance, impact on family life, etc.\

The competitive World out there

Fast developments in areas like internet, information-sharing, sustainability, reputation, new channels, developing markets, seriously impact companies), makes one ask these inevitable questions:

  • How do companies measure the impact of such changes, in terms of talent needs?
  • The ability to Ask. How do companies foster this across their organization?
  • How do companies define talent? Is such definition still applicable tomorrow?
  • Has goal setting become ‘S.M.A.R.T.E.R.’?

How Batenborch is conquering the war:

  • Diversity is part of our own DNA. With own offices and partners in the largest European countries no other executive search company, dedicated to marketing and sales, has such international footprint.
  • Having successfully recruited over 6,000 marketing & sales professionals in the past 25 years, Batenborch can guide you through the process of identifying and carefully selecting the commercial talents that will significantly boost your commercial performance.

The secret of getting ahead is getting started (Mark Twain).

So Is the War for International Talent in Europe over? In the context of the above we can only conclude and stress that, reports of the death of the War for Talent are by far exaggerated.

Contact Batenborch and get some hot ideas on how to ‘win the War’.

Lebinh Luc
Written by
Senior Practice Manager B2B at Batenborch International.

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