The Power Of Talent

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The War for Talent in the age of the Millennial - are you ready?

As Attraction, Retention and Motivation are fast becoming the 3 most common words used by our clients when discussing their recruitment strategy, it would appear that in 2015 the cost to any business of not hiring far outweighs the cost of hiring.

Fast-forward twenty years from when Stephen Hankin first coined 'the war of Talent' and many of the boardroom conversations of today will have a familiar tone.

Skills shortages still keep CEOs up at night -- and whilst changes in the patterns of recruiting have been influenced by the speed of globalisation and the relentless advances in technology, what is causing real seismic shifts is the most recent generational influx, as the millennial cohort become the next demographic set to impact the landscape.

The onset of the economic crisis and the near collapse in employment that followed marked a sudden end to the war of talent. A global armistice was informally declared as companies and employees alike embraced a sit-tight attitude.

Consequently, after years of negativity surrounding the job market, in recent times a fantastical perception has permeated the attitude to recruiting, a development that Darren Connolly of Morgan McKinley describes as 'recession recruitment' mentality.

This is where hiring managers across the globe believe that with the help of an advert on Personnel Today, a word with some ex colleagues and an update on LinkedIn, there will suddenly appear a plethora of flawless candidates all chomping at the bit.

However, in 2015 this is far from reality, because this time round the war for talent is being fought on different fronts, as a glut of Millennials flood the workplace, armed with a new set of ideals that demand a new set of artillery.

Whilst some of the challenges we face now are familiar to those experienced 20 years ago, this is a new kind of talent; a talent which demands more than the cosy cubicle career-paths followed by the baby boomers. Bearing little resemblance to the 'company man', once publicised as the ideal employee, the 'boomers'' onerous offspring are bringing with them a palpable shift in employee expectations. They are after more than a company car and the staples of healthcare and pension.

Instead, flexible working and sabbatical policies are moving from a 'nice bonus' to an 'essential feature' of all successful talent strategies. Ultimately, Millennials are looking for a business that invests in them as individuals, not those who are slapdash in their strategies to retain, using development techniques as shackles rather than springboards.

As a generation who grew up enmeshed in one of the most dynamic periods of change in human history, they have lived through the onset of economic crisis just as their views were being moulded -- and consequently their take on the world is remarkably different to previous generations.

As a result, they demand diversity and change in the form of job rotational programmes and graduate schemes.

Further, with unparalleled levels of education, in a world which values education more than ever, Millennials hold a thirst for continuous learning and development.

So how can we win the war for millennial talent?

Considering Millennials already make up almost 40% of the workforce and are on pace to hit over 75% by 2025, this question is not only important, but immediate. Businesses that remain stagnant are likely to be engulfed by the millennial wave, as flexibility and agility become the name of the game in talent management.