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What Does It Mean That the War for Talent Is Going Global?

What Does It Mean That the War for Talent Is Going Global?

The talent search is no longer a skirmish or a battle. It’s a WAR! As a strategic HR leader (and mighty soldier), part of your role is to be on the front lines of recruitment efforts. You can help your company stay competitive by recruiting and hiring quality candidates with the skills needed to help you achieve and exceed your organizational goals.



What Is a Talent War? 

Steven Hankin coined the phrase “War for Talent” in 1997 and predicted that an organization’s ability to hire and retain top talent would determine its overall success and longevity. He believed “better talent is worth fighting for.” 

While during Hankin’s time, the war for talent was seen as a temporary market condition, today, the war for talent is more permanent and ongoing. 

According to Forbes, a talent war happens “when there is a limited supply of workers with in-demand skills so employers have to battle it out to gain access to the most highly sought-after employees.” 

Commonly used “battle tools” employers may use to gain advantage over competitors include:

  • Competitive Compensation 
  • Competitive Benefits packages
  • Employee perks
  • Performance rewards
  • Flexible schedules
  • Work-life harmony
  • Development and growth opportunities

As the war for talent goes global, these battle tools may no longer be enough to triumph over the competition.  



How Is the War for Talent Going Global? 

According to, by 2030, “all baby boomers will be age 65 or older.” As baby boomers reach retirement age in the early quarter of the 21st century, the US workforce will face a shortage of qualified candidates. When the current workforce of baby boomers retire, organizations that don’t already feel the impact of the global war for talent will start to feel like they have some catching up to do. Let’s cover a few reasons HR will continue encountering talent shortages in the coming years. 


1. Young people are choosing to work abroad. 

Young people are exercising their mobility by taking opportunities outside their home countries. Many young graduates see the value in working abroad and recognize the following points:  

  • Living abroad is a good way to grow emotionally and intellectually. 

  • Experiencing the challenges of living in a new environment will ultimately strengthen one’s sense of independence.

  • Living abroad can broaden an individual’s cultural awareness and help them understand different perspectives. 

  • Working abroad after college gives young graduates more time, or a “buffer” to discover who they are and what they want to do. 


2. Remote work has become more prevalent. 

Where talent acquisition once felt limited to people you could call in for same-day interviews, the search is much broader today.  Many organizations now offer remote work to anyone worldwide. According to Deel’s State of Global Hiring Report, the number of American workers hired by international companies grew 62% last year, with 85% of those contracts representing remote employees. The accessibility and ease of technology have made working with teams overseas no longer as cumbersome. While there are many industries and businesses where remote work is not feasible or the best option for success, it can be beneficial for many organizations. 

Additionally, many companies now offer visa programs that help attract talent. According to an article in Time Magazine, “The number of takers is already in the tens of thousands and could easily reach six figures.” 

The globalization of the labor pool isn’t a new phenomenon. In 2009, Kate Greene wrote in the MIT Technology Review about the benefits of tapping into the expertise of developing nations. She shares that for a project called “TxtEagle”, leveraging an underused workforce has been economically advantageous to both the business and the employee.  


3. The decline in birth rates and global fertility has made the war for talent more urgent.

According to the United States Population Fund, worldwide fertility has fallen “from an average of 5 births per woman in 1950 to 2.3 births per woman in 2021.” That means fertility has been cut almost in half. A cut like that will profoundly affect the global labor pool as the current workforce ages. 


4. The decline of geographic-based economic barriers has increased global economic integration. 

Another factor impacting the global war for talent is the decline of geographic-based economic barriers. National governments are beginning to reduce barriers to travel and international work. As immigration and emigration rates rise, nations all around the world are beginning to recognize the value of recruiting on a global scale, and as a result, the global economy is becoming more integrated. 

According to a study in the Journal of International Management, emigration flows are sometimes labeled “brain drain” since “high-skilled workers have larger emigration rates (5.5% versus 0.9% for low-skilled and 1.6% for medium-skilled).” This means employers from other countries are actively seeking U.S. talent. This may raise concerns for HR leaders and recruiters who find that in 10 years, the rate of “brain drain” has risen significantly, and the local labor pool has shrunk. 

Time Magazine authors write that “collecting people has always meant collecting power.” Your organization’s power rests on its human capital– the people that make things happen. Although talent management can be daunting, especially for an HR Party of One, understanding global economic and employment trends puts you ahead of the game. 

Check out our blog on acquiring top talent for insight into effective recruitment strategies. 


Additional Resources

You can stay informed, educated, and up to date with important HR topics using BerniePortal’s comprehensive resources:

  • BernieU—free online HR courses, approved for SHRM and HRCI recertification credit
  • BerniePortal Blog—a one-stop shop for HR industry news
  • HR Glossary—featuring the most common HR terms, acronyms, and compliance
  • Resource Library—essential guides covering a comprehensive list of HR topics
  • HR Party of One—our popular YouTube series and podcast, covering emerging HR trends and enduring HR topics
  • Community—the HR Party of One Community forum, a place devoted to HR professionals to ask questions, learn more, and help others

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