The War On The ‘War For Talent’

War For Talent

I have to get something off my chest. The term ‘war for talent’ is bullshit. It’s a tired idiom that’s been used and abused in recruiting vernacular for over a decade. It’s time for it to be retired.

Have you Googled the term?

202MM results. I’m not kidding. The term even has it’s own wikipedia page. It’s been attributed to Steve Hankin from McKinsey who coined the phrase in 1997. That was during the heydey of the first dot com boom. I suppose it was clever at the time, and I’m sure it earned him a few high fives from his fellow consultants.

I remember recruiting in 1998, working with clients like eToys who would hire and relocate technical talent based on a phone screen. It was a highly competitive market and you had to move fast if you wanted to compete – but it wasn’t a war. The tech hiring market is almost as competitive now. It’s still not a war.

The ‘War For Talent’ is everywhere

Books, conferences, across the pond, in healthcare, being taken on by CEOs, even searching for beasts?! Just when you think the white flags are out and it might be getting better, ‘McKinsey Predicts The War For Talent Will Go Nuts By 2020’. NUTS! We’re all screwed.

The good news is that some of my colleagues get it, and are doing their part to stop the madness. See Lance Haun’s, “Lay Down Your Arms: There Is No War For Talent“.

Rather than vent about the problem, let’s find a solution

Let’s put our collective brains together and come up with something new and snappy for our recruiting, HR, and marketing friends to use. I’ll get it started…

    • Hiring, Get Some!
    • The Highly Competitive Market For Acquiring Skilled Labor
    • Take Your Company To Hire Ground
    • My Hire Is Higher Than Your Hire
    • Yo Quiero Talent
    • Your Development Team Is Quite Extraordinary, We Will Take Them Now
    • Or you can get defensive: This Is Not The Talent You’ve Been Looking For

Have a substitute for ‘War For Talent’? Leave a comment and share them.

6 thoughts on “The War On The ‘War For Talent’

  1. Although this term may have originally been coined about the fight over talent being snapped up it has metamorphosed into something very different. If we take the energy sector, particularly oil and gas there is a trend of skilled, baby-boomer generation workers leaving and replacements from gen X or Y can not be found who are skilled enough. Add in a lack of skill between generations, lower birth rates in western countries and the work force will shrink over the next 20 years. The war for talent will no longer be based on a buoyant market but one where there may not be enough talent to feed each industry, particularly in engineering and energy. This war is not about competitive advantage as it was previously, but it will soon be a war about survival by human capital. And couple in with that a lack of development funding across the board, it may not get better for a long time.

    Thanks for posting

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