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5 Tips for tackling talent scarcity


This article shares some insight into the problems around talent scarcity, and some tips for tackling them.

We know from a range of studies that there’s often a clear link between optimising internal talent and achieving better company results. Employers who do well in key areas such as; leadership development, employee engagement, workforce planning and learning agility show increased profit and reduced accident rates (McBassi, from Wellins et al, 2009).

At the same time, organisations are encountering more difficulties than ever when it comes to finding and engaging the right talent. It’s hard to figure out how this is even possible, when the world population has been unstoppably growing in recent decades. There are now over 7 billion citizens in the world, with unemployment rates in countries such as Spain sitting at more than 20%. How then, is finding the talent they need such a major challenge for employers?

Some possible causes for this talent scarcity:

  • The profile of the workforce has changed. People entering the workforce have new perspectives that we must take into account if we want to attract and develop young talent. Generally speaking, these individuals prefer challenging and meaningful jobs, they tend to be more loyal to their profession than to their employers, they are less comfortable with traditional authority structures, they care about their work-life balance and they are willing and able to take the lead in their careers (Wellins et al).
  • The labour force is getting older, so the talent pool is reducing.
  • There is a significant gap between the skills most offered by workers and the skills demanded by employers (Prising, J., 2015).


Talent scarcity can have a negative impact on organisations. Some consequences outlined in Manpower’s Talent Shortage Survey are; reduced capacity to offer a good service to clients, decreased competitiveness and productivity, minimised innovation capacity, increased turnover rate, and a negative impact on the morale of current employees.


5 Top tips to enhance talent management

Due to prevailing economic, social, and political factors, problems around talent scarcity are expected to continue to be a challenge for employers. However, HR departments have the knowledge and capacity to tackle some aspects of the problem. Here are 5 key activities that will strengthen your organisation’s internal capability and help with the search for new talent.

  1. Create development programmes to optimise strengths.

The latest research informs us that to enhance overall performance, we need to enable individuals to combine their aspirations and strengths in their roles (Mazor et al., 2015). It’s still important to recognise and build on development areas, but leveraging strengths can be equally important.

  1. Increase the diversity of your candidates.

Apart from the legal and ethical implications, without having a diverse and inclusive selection process, we miss out on a range of attributes that boost creativity and innovation. A diverse workforce brings diversity of thought, and with it a host of business benefits. One of the best ways to avoid conscious or unconscious biases is to include standardised assessment tools during the selection process. By doing so, we improve objectivity and reduce the chances of making biased decisions.

According to HR Grapevine’s Guide to Assessment and Testing, 80% of the companies listed in the Fortune 500 in the USA, and 75% of the companies listed in the Times Top 100 in the UK use psychometric tests in their selection processes.

  1. Engage your current employees.

Manpower’s Talent Shortage Survey highlighted that more than half of employers report difficulties in retaining their high performers. The information we have about recent worker profiles can offer some clues about what needs to be offered to them. One of the most commonly used actions is to equip employees with tailored development plans. The resulting sense of progress is a major driver that can nurture employees’ commitment.

  1. Improve your onboarding process.

Having a structured onboarding plan can improve the chances that an employee stays at your company during the following 3 years by up to 69% (Laurano, M., 2013). In fact, 70% of workers make the decision to stay or leave within the first six months of work (Filipkowski, J., 2016) and 22% of turnover often happens within the first 45 days of employment (Julian, E., 2009).

  1. Identify potential in your workforce.

This is valuable knowledge, as it enables us to focus our efforts on the talent we need most. Keeping in mind that developing a management career can take around 10 years, it is well worth investing time and resources in identifying high potentials; those who are capable, motivated and committed. This will feed into a very healthy succession pipeline.

A few more ways you can boost your talent management processes are:

  • Offering additional training as a benefit for the employees
  • Using new and innovative recruitment sources to enlarge the talent pool.
  • Recruiting based on potential, rather than exclusively because of skills and knowledge.

On balance, every organisation looks for motivated employees, with the appropriate knowledge and skills, committed to the business and aligned with its corporate values. Yet, the economic, social, and political context makes the search for the ‘ideal’ employee complex. Luckily, HR departments have more tools and knowledge at their disposal than ever. This means they’re well positioned as a business ally within organisations, enabling HR teams to turn excellent talent management into a great competitive advantage for the future.


Autora: Cintia Ortiz, HR Consultant at Cubiks’ Spanish partner Facthum-aRH