Global Talent Trends 2021

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Top trends for 2020–2021

With a global pandemic kicking off 2020, the new decade has been filled not only with fevered discussions about our health, wealth, jobs and well-being – but about the impact on our collective futures too. We’ve embraced new technologies more rapidly than we could have imagined. We’ve adopted remote working at speed. And the health and safety of our people have never been more critical.

COVID-19 didn’t just invade bodies, it exposed cracks in existing structures and accelerated change towards what was previously termed the ‘future of work’.

Tectonic market shifts are transforming the global business landscape. Economic realignment, advances in technology, the globalization of markets, changing demographic trends, new customer needs and increased competition are radically altering how companies operate in virtually every industry and region of the world.

Evidence of this new world order can be seen in the trade numbers. In 1990, the total of the world’s exports and imports accounted for only 30% of the world’s GDP—today, they make up more than half. These structural shifts are reshaping both the supply and demand for talent across the globe. To cope with a changing business environment, employers are demanding new skills from their employees, yet often they are in short supply. The paradox is profound: On the one hand, 40 million workers in the industrialized world are unemployed, according to recent estimates by the International Labor Organization.

Yet executives and managers tasked with hiring new workers often say they are unable to nd the right people with the proper skills to ll their vacancies. Meanwhile, the sources from which talent might be recruited are also realigning. More talent is being “home grown” in the developing world, and as a result, our forecast shows that over the next decade, new and sometimes unlikely regions of the world will generate a surplus of talent. By contrast, other regions—like the US and much of Europe—will confront the need to undertake a critical “reskilling” of labor to meet the new demands of a highly digitized and interconnected world where higher skill sets will be required.

To make their organizations more effective in the face of sweeping business change, HR leaders will need to rethink their techniques for managing talent and ensure they are aligned with the new strategic objectives of their organization. Increasingly they will need to develop more evidence-based approaches to manage global talent— drawing on improved analytics to identify talent segments and gaps, optimize resource allocation, integrate workforce plans and manage unavoidable risk.

Whether the issue is opening a new plant in a distant market, identifying the rm’s next set of corporate leaders, or preparing for a new customer strategy, the HR executive is emerging as a key strategic player procient at using evidence-based analysis to inuence corporate decisions. As Samira Kaderali, Director of Strategic Workforce Planning at American Express puts it, “The notion of HR being much more analytic and data-driven provides a foundation for HR to be a strategic partner to the business, to help drive business results—this is the conversation that all the business and HR leaders want to have.”

Employee experience — Your company will work for employees, not just the other way around

The employee experience is everything an employee observes, feels, and interacts with as a part of their company. It represents a wider view of the traditional human resource function, and empathy is at its core. The central idea is to actively collaborate with employees to understand their point of view and design experiences that allow people to do their best work.

EX — shorthand for employee experience — requires thinking holistically about everything an employee goes through. That includes conventional HR tasks like performance management, learning, and compensation. But the wider field also includes much more — from real estate decisions to technology choices.

An easy way to think about everything included in EX is the framework of the four P’s:

People — relationships with colleagues and customers

Place — physical environments, whether in an office or remote

Product — the work itself

Process — rules and tools

EX is not the same as employee engagement, though engaged employees are a key outcome of a better employee experience. Companies say they’re investing in EX to increase employee retention and productivity as well as meet the high expectations of younger workers and attract more job candidates.

Multigenerational workforce — From Gen Z to Baby Boomers and beyond, good talent will prove ageless

The 2020s represent a new chapter in workforce age diversity driven by demographic changes. People are living longer and Generation Z (age 23 and younger) is hitting the job market.

Some companies are set to capitalize on this trend. They’re using empathy to understand how teams with a wide variety of life experiences and perspectives can be most successful. To attract and retain talent from all ages, they’re carving out new career paths, introducing more flexible benefits, and finding new ways for generations to share intelligence.

All in all, the generations share more similarities than differences. Everyone values good compensation and benefits, work-life balance, and a positive work culture. But there are some subtle overarching trends worth noting.

Contrary to some popular perceptions, Baby Boomers (age 55 to 73) put the highest priority on working for a company with a purposeful mission. Gen Z, meanwhile, is most likely to value training — 36% call it a top factor when considering a new job.

iGlobal Talent takes a data-driven approach to connect opportunities with exceptional global talent. Talk to us today about how we can help you identify, engage and attract people to your company, university, city or country. Contact us at

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