Thursday, April 28, 2005

Talent markets

I'm surprised how quickly a traditional business like private banking is open to thoughts about labour markets.

Something that I haven't gone into much detail of late is that in the last few roles been in the wonderful position of being able not only to work out how to get the people we need for our jobs but being able to change the 'product' that we take to market - what the offering is all about. Part of this is being able to challenge where work is located.

Recently I've been having conversations about where we are going to locate our front-office people. If the market for Italian bankers is stronger in Monaco than Switzerland why don't we build our team there? These are questions the business is very eager to investigate.

We're not alone. Google last year opened shop near Microsoft - it doesn't take a genius to guess why. In large administrative centres I have been able to demonstrate the link between distance-to-work and saturation of local labour markets over time. Track that and you realise when it's time to shift the work elsewhere.

John Hagel, one of my favourite writers, mentions this on his recent blogpost - Flight of the Creative Class:
Where value originates and who captures it will increasingly depend on the evolution of talent markets and the relative capability of firms (and nations) to rapidly develop and amplify the value of this talent. Product markets and financial markets will of course still matter, but the center of gravity for value creation and capture will inexorably migrate to global talent markets.

HR's value to an organisation will rise when it can start having these conversations. Unfortunately I see far too few people in the average HR organisation who can and want to have these conversations with senior managers.