Human Resorce

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The current issue and full text archive of this journal is available at www.emeraldinsight.com/2046-9012.htm

EJTD 36,1

Employability and talent management: challenges for HRD practices Staffan Nilsson
Centre for Policy Studies in Higher Education and Training, Department of Educational Studies, University of British Columbia, Vancouver, Canada, and HELIX VINN Excellence Centre, ¨ Department of Behavioural Sciences and Learning, Linkoping University, ¨ Linkoping, Sweden, and

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Received 14 May 2011 Revised 15 August 2011 Accepted 16 September 2011

¨ Per-Erik Ellstrom
HELIX VINN Excellence Centre, ¨ Department of Behavioural Sciences and Learning, Linkoping University, ¨ Linkoping, Sweden Abstract
Purpose – The purpose of this conceptual paper is to illuminate the problems that are associated with defining and identifying talent and to discuss the development of talent as a contributor to employability. Design/methodology/approach – The world of work is characterised by new and rapidly changing demands. Talent management has recently been the target of increasing interest and is considered to be a method by which organisations can meet the demands that are associated with increased complexity. Previous studies have often focused on the management of talent, but the issue of what exactly should be managed has generally been neglected. In this paper, the authors focus on discussing the substance of talent and the problems associated with identifying talent by using the following closely related concepts: employability, knowledge, and competence. Findings – Employability is central to employee performance and organisational success. Individual employability includes general meta-competence and context-bound competence that is related to a specific profession and organisation. The concept of employability is wider than that of talent, but the possession of talent is critical to being employable. In this paper, the authors suggest a model in which talent includes individual, institutional, and organisational-social dimensions. Practical implications – The illumination of different meanings of talent management and the substance of talent is crucial to the practical implication of central human resource development practices, such as training and development. Originality/value – The paper shows that clarification of the conceptual boundaries and the presentation of a typology that is relevant to the understanding of talent are central to the creation of valid talent management systems that aim to define and develop talent. Keywords Competences, Human resource development, Employability, Employees development, Talent, Talent management, Training and development Paper type Conceptual paper

European Journal of Training and Development Vol. 36 No. 1, 2012 pp. 26-45 q Emerald Group Publishing Limited 2046-9012 DOI 10.1108/03090591211192610

This paper is written within the framework of a research project that was funded by the Swedish Council for Working Life and Social Research (FAS).

Introduction The world of work has undergone changes in both the nature of work and the emergence of new forms of work, which result from innovation, the development of new knowledge, increased competition, and other factors (Brown et al., 2003; Sennett, 2006). Today, work life is characterised by complexity, unpredictability, and insecurity. There has been a shift from a commodity-based economy to a knowledge-based economy, in which an increasing proportion of organisational assets are intangible. This knowledge-based economy is generating new structures and new and continuously changing demands and challenges in the world of work (Barnett, 2000; Brown et al., 2003; Sennett, 2006). Today, a principal challenge is to remain current with changes and adapt to the evolving needs of organisations. Learning is no longer solely associated with education and is no longer viewed as a pre-career affair. There has been a shift from job security...
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