The Role of the HR in How Corporates Can Win (and Lose) the Global Race for Talent

How the Global Race for Talent is Playing itself out in All Fields

There is a global race for talent wherein the best and the brightest of fresh graduates, experienced and lateral entry professionals, and the niche executives are all being wooed by the corporates world over.

Starting with the corporates thronging colleges and universities to recruit potential business leaders as well as the champions of science and technology, including the race to attract the lateral entry professionals from the floating pool of job changers, and the poaching of senior managers, and executives from rival firms, the corporates in the present times are not pulling punches in their quest for the rich talent pool that emerges periodically.

Indeed, sometimes the scramble for talent is so fast paced and so cutthroat that it resembles the wooing of princesses and princes in the historical eras.

Moreover, as the auctions for the IPL or the Indian Premier League show, the bidding and the rush for talent is not limited to the corporate world and one can go so far as to say that this is a phenomenon that spans the entire spectrum of business, sports, entertainment, and other fields.

How Corporates Win, and Lose, the Worldwide War for Talent?

So, how can corporates win the worldwide war for talent? At the same time, what can cause them to lose the same?

To answer these questions, one must look at the psychology of what makes everyone from fresh graduates to experienced professionals choose a particular corporate over others when they accept the recruitment offers.

While it is easy to say that money matters more than anything else, there are some who join start-ups and other niche firms for the job satisfaction and the chance to actualise what theories call the Intrinsic need to excel.

To continue, the Theories of Motivation explicitly talk about how people are motivated by external needs such as pay and perks, as well as motivated by their innate need for name and fame as well as the drive to excel and the urge to innovate.

Therefore, potential recruits have to be assesses as to what makes them tick and this is where the role of the HR (Human Resources) function comes into play as they need to map the psychology of the recruits with what they can offer to them.

In short, one sure way of attracting the best talent is to mix the intrinsic and the extrinsic needs to the overall offer terms that the corporates can provide.

What Theories of Motivation and Personality Tell us Who Accepts Which Offer

Having said that, there are other factors at play as well when corporates engage in the war for talent.

The theories of HRM also speak about how people have three types of personalities mapped as per their needs.

Some are driven by nAch or the Need for Achievement, others by nAff, or the Need for Affection, and a few by nPow, or the Need for Power.

Therefore, what the HR managers need to do is to again map the personalities of the potential recruits to these motivational and needs types and then, target those institutes or those firms where such needs are there but not being addressed by others.

Of course, the discussion so far has been limited to how corporates can woo the best and brightest through these soft approaches.

Extending this discussion to other factors would mean that there are many fresh graduates as well as laterals who would prefer to base in certain locations or would like to avoid travelling or for matter, even commuting long distances.

Thus, there are other forces at play as well and this is where astute recruitment strategies help.

The Much Criticised Brain Drain and the Reverse Trend of Western Expats in Asia

We have mentioned worldwide and global quite a few times. So, turning to how corporates can win the war for talent in the global arena, it would be useful to refer to the term, Brain Drain, which signifies how the best among the talent pool in developing and Third World countries flock to First World nations such as the United States and other European countries.

Indeed, much has been said about Brain Drain that has often been criticised and derided as well. No matter what, it is real and indeed, the global race for talent is often won Hands Down by Western firms simply because they have the advantage of being located in developed countries to which every global citizen aspires to migrate to.

Therefore, though tough to swallow, it is a fact that most corporates from non Western nations have to accept.

Having said that, in recent years, there has also been a movement in the opposite direction wherein many Westerners are choosing to be expatriates in the rapidly rising China and other Asian countries lured as they are by the prospect of leading and being in senior positions in emerging market corporates. There is a lesson for Indian firms here as well.

Concluding Thoughts

Last, given the multitude of forces at play as far as attracting the best talent is concerned, it would be worthwhile for the corporates to come up with a specific recruitment strategy well in advance, and then, tweak it and change it as per the feedback.

Indeed, the race for talent is won by those who are Agile and Nimble and lost by those who are slowing moving and rigid.

To conclude, with Human Resources becoming the true source of competitive advantage in the Digital Age, the very real global war for talent is won accordingly.


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The article is Written By “Prachi Juneja” and Reviewed By Management Study Guide Content Team. MSG Content Team comprises experienced Faculty Member, Professionals and Subject Matter Experts. We are a ISO 2001:2015 Certified Education Provider. To Know more, click on About Us. The use of this material is free for learning and education purpose. Please reference authorship of content used, including link(s) to ManagementStudyGuide.com and the content page url.


Human Resource Management