Managing talent is the most critical human
resources (HR) challenge worldwide and will remain at or near the top of
executive agendas in every region and industry for the foreseeable future,
according to a new global study conducted by The Boston Consulting Group (BCG)
and the World Federation of Personnel Management Associations (WFPMA)/Canadian
Council of Human Resources Associations (CCHRA).
Key findings of the report,
Creating People Advantage: How to Address HR Challenges Worldwide Through
2015, are being released in Canada today.
The study, which is based on a global survey of 4,741 executives in 83
countries, found that managers also rated improving leadership development and
managing work-life balance as urgent priorities. The report provides rankings
and analyses of 17 HR challenges in seven major regions of the world and
suggests specific actions to address those issues.
"Our workforce is aging, and demand for talent is increasing. Finding
talented, future leaders has become more difficult than raising financing,"
said Kilian Berz, Canadian Organization Practice Leader and managing director
of The Boston Consulting Group (BCG). "Many Canadian companies serve global
clients, but their leaders have limited global experience. It is critical to
re-evaluate how to recruit." He adds, "This is also a big challenge for our
This will place exceptional pressure on the financial services,
consumer goods and energy sectors.
With nearly 24 percent of the population projected to be older than 65 by
2031, the study notes that over 78% of Canadian companies expect that by 2015
- or earlier - they will be offering flexible employment options to attract or
retain semi-retired or retired employees.
Managing talent ranked as the most important HR challenge in 9 of 17
countries analyzed in depth, including the United States, Australia,
Singapore, Japan, and the United Kingdom, and was at least in the top three in
14 of the 17 countries - a reflection of increasing globalization and
To help address this challenge, executives from all regions,
including Canada, expect their companies to boost global sourcing of talented
employees. Although few companies today are moving businesses to new locations
to access people, Canadian executives expect this to be the most rapidly
growing HR trend through 2015.
"The study, the most comprehensive review of global HR practices ever
conducted, provides piercing insight into the current and future challenges
facing companies," said Florent Francoeur, Past-President of the WFPMA, one of
the world's leading HR organizations, and President and CEO of l'Ordre des
CRHA et des CRIA du Québec, the Quebec Human Resources Association.
Other Challenges: Improving Leadership and Work-Life Balance
Improving leadership also ranked as a top three HR challenge in 10 of the
17 focus countries, including developed nations such as Canada, the United
States and Japan as well as emerging markets such as China and India.
Demographic shortages will create competition for experienced leaders in
Canada. "As the executive pool shrinks and as shareholder expectations and
board accountability continue to rise, we anticipate HR strategy will be fully
integrated into the overall corporate strategy. For some it already is, while
for most it is often an afterthought and mostly focused on the upper echelons
during talent transitions," said Marc Gilbert, a partner and managing director
with BCG in Toronto. "More and more, HR strategy is being discussed at the
Managing work-life balance was also rated a key future challenge in every
region except the Pacific Region and a top-three priority in Argentina and
Chile, Brazil, Canada, India, Italy, Singapore, and South Africa.
"In Canada, two thirds of women with children under the age of six are
employed, so the importance of this topic in Canada is not surprising," said
Lynn Palmer, CEO of the Canadian Council of Human Resources Associations.
"Some 82 percent of Canadian executives said they expect their companies to
offer flexible work arrangements by 2015, and 74% expected their companies
would be offering part-time work as a work-life balance initiative by 2015, up
from 61 percent in 2007."
"Companies are forced to enhance their offering to further employee
loyalty," noted Gilbert. "Employees, especially the most talented ones, often
make career choices based on factors such as flexibility and emotional
About the Methodology of the Study
BCG and the European Association for Personnel Management (EAPM)
conducted the Web survey in Europe through January 2007, receiving 1,355
responses from HR and other executives in 27 European countries. In
conjunction with that survey, during May 2007, we interviewed 102 senior
executives in Europe. Between September and November 2007, a global Web survey
was conducted in cooperation with the WFPMA, eliciting an additional 3,386
responses from participants in 56 countries. This survey was rounded out with
118 interviews with executives from those countries. In all, the two Web
surveys elicited 4,741 responses from 83 countries, and BCG conducted 220
interviews with senior executives.
About The Boston Consulting Group
The Boston Consulting Group (BCG) is a global management consulting firm
and the world's leading advisor on business strategy. We partner with clients
in all sectors and regions to identify their highest-value opportunities,
address their most critical challenges, and transform their businesses. Our
customized approach combines deep insight into the dynamics of companies and
markets with close collaboration at all levels of the client organization.
This ensures that our clients achieve sustainable competitive advantage, build
more capable organizations, and secure lasting results. Founded in 1963, BCG
is a private company with 66 offices in 38 countries.
For more information,
please visit www.bcg.com.
About the Canadian Council of Human Resources Associations
The Canadian Council of Human Resources Associations (CCHRA) is a
collaborative effort of human resources associations from across Canada, which
represents more than 33,000 professionals, 18,000 of whom hold the Certified
Human Resources Professional (CHRP) designation. In less than 15 years, the
CHRP designation has become the symbol of excellence in human resource
About the World Federation of Personnel Management Associations
The World Federation of Personnel Management Associations (WFPMA) is a
global network of professionals in people management. It was founded in 1976
to aid the development and improve the effectiveness of professional people
management all over the world. Its members are predominantly the continental
federations, which are made up of more than 70 national personnel associations
representing over 400,000 people-management professionals.
information, please visit www.wfpma.com.