Winning the Global Talent Showdown–My critique

Winning the Global Talent Showdown
How Businesses and Communities Can Partner to Rebuild the Jobs Pipeline
by Edward Gordon

http://www.summary.com/book-reviews/_/Winning-The-Global-Talent-Showdown/

Review
As many modern educators struggle to prepare their students for the new global marketplace, the technical skills needed to keep the economy productive are beginning to run dry. The result is an impending talent drought that threatens to create a catastrophic shortage of the skills needed by today’s organizations. [Maybe today’s organizations need to change then.]

Knowledge and Talent

According to business consultant and prolific business author Edward E. Gordon, “the majority of businesses around the world are underperforming precisely because their most significant assets — their employees’ knowledge and talent — are unwittingly [No. It is intentional. They just want to use, abuse, and then throw you away when no longer needed. Companies do not train, cross-train, retrain or any of the like. In technology, for a new product, they will hire someone new and pay them more than the current employees, so that the older employees rarely their hands on the new technology. Do this often enough and the older person, who is very experienced, is not experienced on the newer stuff. Almost outdated. At least it would appear that way.They do not use the more seasoned employee for the newer stuff and hire a new person for the older technology.] being suppressed or underdeveloped.”

To help companies cope with the looming talent shortfall, Gordon offers a variety of strategies they can use to improve their chances of finding and hiring talented, knowledgeable and productive people. [Again, it is not so much a talent shortfall as it is companies do not know what talent is available and how to use it. They cannot define the talent they need. They define the talent they want, but what they want and what they need are two different things.]

Gordon’s battle plan for fixing the broken system that prepares the future work force begins with a detailed description of the forces that have created the problem.

The first challenge is a changing, global economy. The second force is the population shift that is taking place as Baby Boomers retire and birthrates decline. And the third pressure that is causing the growing talent shortfall is an outdated and broken educational system that is failing to prepare students with the skills they need to help companies succeed in the near future. [The education system was never meant to prepare employees, nor should it. It was meant to teach basics and produce knowledgeable citizens. The company should train its people on what they want done and retrain them when the needs of business change.]

Gordon explains that the combination of these three forces creates an untenable situation in which more people are unemployed while companies can’t fill their jobs because prospective employees don’t have the skills they need. [The companies fail to define skills. They fail to see that skills are transferable. They do not know that Linux is just another version of UNIX. However, if you do not have Linux experience you do not get the interview let alone the job. Also, they say they need 3-5 years of experience. Bull. You learn 95+% of all you are ever going to know about any job in 6 months to a year. Sheer amount of experience is overrated.]

Education-to-Employment System

After introducing the problem, Gordon methodically presents a well-designed solution.

First, he pinpoints the locations on the planet where talented labor is most in demand. While detailing the global reality of a broken education-to-employment system, he emphasizes that even countries such as India and China, which have benefited from outsourcing in the past, are beginning to see talent shortfalls in their own labor pools. [China as well as the US both have a college glut, i.e., too many college graduates and not enough jobs for them. Yet the powers that be are pushing for more college graduates, in this country.] He also describes how higher wages and improved economies are helping these countries bring back the brainpower that was once drained by promises of prosperity elsewhere. [I know that India’s companies do train their people whereas the US will not. US businesses expect High School and Community College to do the training? Yes wages are increasing there but are still well behind those in the US.]

Tracking labor problems across 25 countries and demonstrating the work force demographics, globalization challenges and education-to-employment system beneath the surface of each, Gordon focuses on the largest issues that each region faces and points out the major factors that should be addressed.

In the second half of Winning the Global Talent Showdown: How Businesses & Communities Can Partner to Rebuild the Jobs Pipeline, [We have never had a jobs pipeline. It is kind of hard to rebuild what we never had.] Gordon examines how countries and organizations can grow the talents and skills of their people, as well as why they should make changes in their approaches.

Older Workers

Fascinating research and insights pour from Winning the Global Talent Showdown. For example, while describing the benefits of hiring and retaining older workers, Gordon cites a 2005 Towers Perrin report that shows how doubling the retention of employees over the age of 50 boosts costs only 1 to 3 percent, but replacing them with younger employees “results in high one-time turn-over costs, up to 39 percent of their total compensation.”

To show businesses how to fix the education-to-employment system, Gordon offers a five-point approach. This plan includes using continuous education, building training and development programs to create talent, offering a blend of classroom and technology-based learning, collaborating with community partners, measuring the return on investment of internal and external learning programs, and investing money in human capital and physical capital to reach a business’ goals.

Through case studies from around the world, Winning the Global Talent Showdown describes how innovative partnerships can improve how businesses recruit and develop better people while increasing employee performance.

Conclusion
It is not a skills gap. It is more a matter of definition. What do you call a skill? Skills are transferable and companies need to know this. Education should NOT a job pipeline. I have got 4 college degrees in STEM and yet I cannot get a job. Please read, “Why Good People Cannot Get Jobs: and What Companies can do about it.” It does explain why but I do not necessarily agree with the how to fix it. I do think it a company’s problem though.

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