Talent Development a World-Wide Crisis

A mammoth 1.5 billion jobs need to be created globally for the world to win the war against unemployment.

The figure was quoted today at the 30th annual Pan Pacific Business Conference currently taking place at the Sandton Convention Centre. The international event, hosted by the University of Johannesburg (UJ) Faculty of Management, is debating the legacies of emerging economies.

In a session focusing on global challenges in talent development, delegates heard that some two – three billion unskilled and semi-skilled workers around the world were jobless. Conversely, the world was desperately short of skills in management ranks, requiring 92 – 93 million highly skilled personnel in this sphere. This shortage included a dearth of leadership; Africa alone required five – seven million business leaders to support its current growth rate.

Head of the Department of Industrial Psychology and People Management at UJ, Prof Theo H Veldsman, pointed out the tensions between developed and developing countries. The populations of the former were greying and experienced declining levels of talent. The latter had young, increasing populations, and large reserves of future talent. Both sides were now employing across national boundaries and the world was becoming one talent pool.

Emerging countries had to adopt strategic talent intent, he stated, ensuring they had the right talent in the right numbers in the right time and place.
This intent had to be backed by an attitude of corporate citizenship and social consciousness, which involved building talent and creating the right environment for its materialisation, as opposed to sitting back in the hope it would appear when required. To this end, the business world had to embark in partnerships with academic and training institutions. For their part, educational establishments had to move away from inside-out perspectives to outside-in, listening to what the market required when structuring training programmes.

Veldsman pointed out that the world not only faced a talent crisis, the crisis extended to the talent profile. The accelerated pace of change made it difficult to predict what type of talent would be needed in the future, not only in a technical and professional capacity, but also the aspects of personal attributes, mindsets, values and conduct. Panellist MalingEbrahimpour, Dean of the School of Business Administration of the University
of South Florida-St Petersburg in the USA, backed this up with a caution that talent needs changed rapidly with new technology and digital developments occurring on average at six-monthly intervals.

According to Prof Fred Luthans of the University of Nebraska-Lincoln, USA, psychological capital, or positivity, was a significant missing piece in the puzzle of talent development. “Students are not trained in the importance of positivity, to build their happiness and well-being,” he told the audience.
“They are told if they work hard they will succeed and be happy. Research indicates the reverse – we become successful when are positive, happy and work hard.

Central to Luthans’ concept of psychological capital, detailed in his book of the same name, is a balanced connection between three life pillars – relationships, health and work. He believes positivity skills can be taught and have a profound effect on the quality of talent.

Statement issued by  University of Johannesburg’s (UJ’s) Faculty of Management

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