Global Talent Management

Topics: Human resource management, Management, Multinational corporation Pages: 27 (9405 words) Published: March 4, 2011

Randall S. Schuler, Susan E. Jackson Rutgers University and Lorange Institute of Business Zurich and Ibraiz Tarique Pace University

Source: To appear in H. Scullion and D. Collings (eds.), Global Talent Management (London: Routledge, 2010).

© Randall S. Schuler, Susan E. Jackson and Ibraiz Tarique. The authors wish to express thanks for preparatory comments and suggestions to Clemens Brugger, Gary Bruton, Dave Collings, Tim Devinney, Bill Guth, Wes Harry, Mike Hitt, Paul Sparrow, Mark Saxer, Hugh Scullion, Ken Smith, Rosalie Tung and Nadia Wicki. Supported by a grant from the School of Management and Labor Relations, Rutgers University.



Introduction Up until 2008 firms around the world were confronted with a major threat to doing business: a demand for talented employees that far surpassed the supply. This was especially acute in the developing countries that were benefiting from a strong business cycle based upon tremendous exports to the developed nations, and increased foreign direct investment from firms in developed nations wishing to take advantage of substantially lower wages in developing countries. Forecasts were being made of even greater shortages to come due to forecasts for continued global economic growth virtually everywhere, but especially in the developing nations. Firms worked aggressively to retain their current employees, often providing training and development benefits to make the firm more attractive, and also to develop the talents of these workers. “Talent” became a key word in global business. Firms faced many global talent challenges including having the right number of competent employees at the right place and at the right time. They also faced the challenge of needing to reduce the costs of operations, thus moving operations abroad, paying lower wages and then having to find competent employees to staff the facility. All of these challenges were dealt with through “global talent management” initiatives. These were composed of various HR actions depending upon the nature of the global talent challenge. This chapter describes these global talent management initiatives. Some of our discussion reflects conditions that were present during recent economic and financial boom times (i.e., the two decades prior to 2008), when worker shortages were a primary concern. Economic expansion is likely to return eventually, so labor shortages are of continuing concern. Nevertheless, in the near term, this concern may subside somewhat. Regardless of the size of the gap between the available and desired pool of talent globally, a variety of other concerns remain as major global talent challenges. We begin this chapter by defining more specifically what we mean by global talent challenges and global talent management. Next, we describe in some detail the major drivers of the global talent challenges facing modern multinational firms. Having set the stage by describing the broader context, we then turn to a discussion of specific HR actions that comprise a domain of activity that often is now referred to as “global talent management.” Finally, after acknowledging some of the barriers that can make achieving effective global talent management difficult, we conclude with a brief summary of the potential results of effective global talent management, for it is these desired results that motivate multinational firms to continuously improve their approaches to global talent management. 2

Global Talent Challenges and Global Talent Management In today’s rapidly moving, extremely uncertain, and highly competitive global environment, firms worldwide are encountering numerous global talent challenges. Global talent challenges arise as firms compete on a worldwide stage under dynamic conditions to...
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