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Home > The Key Challenges of Attracting (and Retaining) Talent in The Years Ahead

The Key Challenges of Attracting (and Retaining) Talent in The Years Ahead

10 October, 2017

The business world is undergoing profound change, and your organisation’s ability to manage global talent efficiently might mean the difference between success and failure.

What will the way we work look like in 2020, and how will businesses manage an increasingly mobile workforce? These are the questions that PwC’s report ‘Talent mobility: 2020 and beyond’ seeks to answer.

In today’s world, the top talent will increasingly be driven by their own ambitions and desires, irrespective of who is offering them opportunities. “It’s a world where the strongest and most sustainable supply of talent is in the East, rather than the West, and a world where technology has changed the very way we work,” says the report.



“Economic transformation and demographic changes have already had an impact on talent supply and demand. The emergence of a new generation of workers presents an entirely new set of challenges. Talent management will become a key strategic tool, which places great responsibility on the shoulders of human resources divisions.” – PwC

Predicting a 50% growth in mobile employees by 2020 and responding to the fact that only 30% of CEOs confirm that they have the talent they need to fulfil future business growth, PwC’s report – which surveyed more than 4 000 employed Millennials – assesses the sweeping changes that have been taking place in the past decade. It predicts key trends that employers will have to manage over the next ten years as 80 million Baby Boomers go into retirement.

The report predicts that employers will be under pressure to align global mobility programmes more closely with business plans, and that the emphasis of talent management will be on mobility, with Millennials being placed on shorter, more targeted and purpose-based assignments.

HR will be under greater pressure than ever

Three-to-four-year postings will be a thing of the past as people sign up for short-term assignments. Talent will be required in new and more locations as skilled employees from emerging markets become increasingly in demand abroad. Opportunities to work in other countries will be recognised as key to attracting, developing and engaging talent.

Talent mobility strategies for the next decade will need to be sophisticated enough to deal with growing deployment demands, but also agile, adaptable and constantly evolving. The pressure will be on HR to provide insight to support mobility decisions, and to manage increasing programme costs.


PwC has projected that by 2020 the millennial generation will constitute the majority of the workforce – outnumbering retiring baby boomers 2:1. Not only does this group expect to work through a number of employers during their careers, but they also have a strong desire to work internationally – 71% of respondents expect an overseas assignment, citing job satisfaction and career progression to be more important than financial reward.


To adapt to these changes, visionary organisations are evolving the working strategies they offer in order to attract the best international talent. According to PwC, many are now matching assignments to employee’s requirements and needs, so that they have a greater ability to attract and retain valuable talent more easily.

The report advises forward-looking organisations to deliberate 10 key questions:

Have you mapped and tracked your mobility needs to determine what skills you will need and when and where you need them?

Do you have the right insight and data to determine where changes and/or investments may be necessary?

Have you aligned your talent management strategy with the wider business strategy?

Have you built strong links between the functions within the organisation, which are responsible for mobility, talent development, succession planning and global resourcing?


Do senior stakeholders and the global mobility function have a common understanding of the main priorities?

How do you plan to manage the millennial generation? Can you use their eagerness to travel to your advantage?

What reward and incentive model is appropriate to meet the various needs across generations in your organisation?

Are your mobility policies and processes forward looking, or mainly reactive?

What strategies do you have, to retain the employees you’ve invested in?

Is your HR function equipped to deal with the challenges ahead?



By 2020 global mobility of talent will be fluid. For example, a Chinese company may engage a European team to manage an investment in Africa.

The winners in the next decade will be those who adjust their talent mobility strategies now.

Technology will play a key role in supporting compliance obligations.








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