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26 Jan, 2012

Diverse, Flexible Manpower Models Will be Key To Success – HR Consultancy Report


DAVOS, Switzerland, Jan. 25, 2012 /PRNewswire/ — Manpower (NYSE: MAN), a supplier of contingent and permanent recruitment workforce solutions from ManpowerGroup, today called for organizations to adjust their workforce strategy to incorporate a more flexible, agile approach if they hope to successfully navigate the Human Age in a new insight paper published at the World Economic Forum Annual Meeting, Davos.

The paper, Increasing Demand for Better Skills Assessment and Match for Better Results, is part of a series published by ManpowerGroup, advising companies How to Navigate the Human Age through the company’s annual analysis of the macro-economic forces evolving the world of work.

Companies in the Human Age are lean organizations with tight margins. As growth continues in emerging markets and softens in much of the developed world, businesses are demanding new and increasingly specific skills and capabilities from their workers to take advantage of every opportunity and do more with less. Demand is the key driver of hiring activity in the Human Age. Companies are looking to hire “just-in-time” with fast time-to-value, depending on the economic climate and their ability to predict fluctuating demand. According to a recent McKinsey study, nearly 60 percent of companies surveyed see temporary / contract workers as the largest growing percentage of their workforce.

“Clients are telling us they need to be more flexible and agile to react to this environment. Manpower is seeing the global contingent workforce grow as a result,” said Jeff Joerres, ManpowerGroup Chairman and CEO. “Companies are evolving their approach to manage their talent as carefully and strategically as they would any other scarce resource, flexing their workforce in response to demand and changes in their markets.”

However, converging macro-economic forces and demographic shifts mean skilled individuals are in short supply, meanwhile under-qualified workers remain abundant. In 2011, over one third (34 percent) of employers surveyed by ManpowerGroup’s Annual Talent Shortage Survey said they were having trouble finding the talent they need, yet unemployment remains relatively high. This conundrum of high unemployment and talent shortage is hampering economic growth, challenging employers’ ability to respond quickly to demand.

Quotes from the paper:

  • The shifting balance in world economic power has sparked tensions between and within countries and organizations. Fading powers now look enviously at foreign upstarts and question labor practices they say give emerging markets an unfair competitive advantage. Their governments must answer increasingly to popular resentment over the waves of jobs that have moved overseas or have been filled by better trained immigrants. A result of this growing tension is a rising sense of protectionism over skilled talent. Identifying, managing and re-strategizing roles for in-demand talent is now a top priority among CEOs. Yet companies need to collaborate with governments to fulfill this goal.
  • The accumulation of wealth has fostered deep divides within populations both in emerging and established markets. The rich can afford not only a more comfortable lifestyle, but the education to maintain their status. This frustrates the poor who, with rare exceptions, lack resources needed to improve their lot. These self-perpetuating cycles kindled Middle East angst and unsettled population groups throughout Europe, the U.S., the Far East and Latin America. The educational divide itself has also intensified the skills mismatch.
  • Workforce diversity is hitting new heights as well. Companies have learned that hiring people from different ethnic groups and cultural and ethnic backgrounds helps them understand consumers and generate business in new markets. A diverse workplace requires heightened sensitivities and flexibility. Management techniques in Brazil may not resonate in Indonesia, although they may be just right in France, or the reverse. One major U.S. financial services firm that has recently expanded overseas hired consultants to help senior executives communicate better with foreign employees and sent managers to these countries to familiarize themselves with the cultures. A whole cottage industry of consultancies has sprouted teaching global behaviors.
  • Employers which are able to leverage a range of flexible work models incorporating full-time, part-time workers and remote or virtual talent with in-demand skills, will maintain a serious advantage in the Human Age. A varied structure of permanent, contract and virtual employees helps control costs and tap a greater range of skills.
  • Companies understand that finding and keeping talent will be essential to their success. Workforce strategies will skillfully combine technology and a personal touch to recruiting, training and development. Strategies will wisely balance permanent and temporary staff. They will make use of social media and other online resources to find candidates worldwide, to communicate regularly with them and learn what they are seeking in a work environment. They will pay close attention to issues that influence opinion, including social responsibility initiatives and the treatment of workers. They will include informal development activities, including mentoring, and more structured programming. Workforce management in the Human Age will require a multifaceted, forward-thinking approach. Anything less risks allowing an organization to fall behind.