Talent management top concern for HR: Study

82 per cent of companies will offer flexible work options by 2015

Managing talent is the most critical human resource 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 study.

"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).

The study, Creating People Advantage: How to Address HR Challenges Worldwide Through 2015, is based on surveys with 4,741 executives in 83 countries and was conducted by BCG, the World Federation of Personnel Management Associations and the Canadian Council of Human Resources Associations (CCHRA)

Managing talent ranked as the most important HR challenge in nine of the 17 countries surveyed, 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.

To help address the talent management challenge, executives from all regions, including Canada, expect companies to boost global sourcing of talented employees, according to the report. 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 also found improving leadership ranked as a top three HR challenge in 10 of the 17 countries, including developed nations such as Canada, the United States and Japan as well as emerging markets such as China and India.

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, 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 CCHRA.

"Some 82 per cent of Canadian executives said they expect their companies to offer flexible work arrangements by 2015, and 74 per cent expect their companies would be offering part-time work as a work-life balance initiative by 2015, up from 61 per cent in 2007."

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