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Talent and skils vs. inflation and the economy

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As we return hopefully refreshed, relaxed and reinvigorated for whatever 2023 has in store for us, I start my first TALiNT Talk of the year with reference to my last one of 2022 (Reasons to be cheerful). Despite the seemingly unending diet of gloom from the media, I still believe that 2023 will not be as bad as many seem to think. I’m not alone in this view, economic commentators from far more august publications than this one seem to have a similar opinion.

However, one challenge that is certain to continue for 2023 is the tension between the economic agenda and the talent agenda. Research from The Times CEO Summit and Deloitte summarised the concerns as: return to the office, skills, inflation and political instability (local and global).

So, in the short term, how this is likely to manifest itself for HR and TA leaders is the challenge of ‘doing more with less’. The talent agenda isn’t going to be less of a priority any time soon but the pressure on budgets will make this another challenging year.

Those who took the opportunity to invest immediately post pandemic, whether in better technology or better people, will be better placed to deal with whatever lies ahead. As will those organisations who embraced opportunities to design new, more dynamic and flexible ways of working and aligned this with a post-pandemic employer brand refresh. Nevertheless, the ‘less with more’ mantra will be a challenge for everyone. The staffing sector will generally find more pressure on fees than in recent years (with a few ‘hot sector’

exceptions); RPO and MSP providers will be challenged to be more agile and flexible and to deliver better service levels and talent tech providers will need to demonstrate both rapid product effectiveness and clearer ROI than in recent years.

For TA and HR teams, two things will help them not just cope but improve: prioritisation and Talent Intelligence (TI). The sheer range of activities for TA teams can seem overwhelming – planning, sourcing, attracting, assessing and engaging are all important but knowing which area is going to deliver the biggest and/or quickest return is key. And this leads neatly into the second point: the use of talent intelligence. Whilst many organisations have been using TI in various ways for some time, overall, this is still a nascent skill for too many TA and HR execs. No longer. Using TI to support isn’t a nice to have, it is an essential entry ticket for discussions with any board or exec team and the ways it can be deployed are growing rapidly. Here at TALiNT Partners we will have a lot more to say about this in 2023.

So, there you go. This year is going to be an interesting year – challenging in many ways, but not nearly as bad as we feared. The skills and talent agenda will continue to be front and centre creating lots of opportunities to shine and showcase the amazing capabilities of those of you who make this your profession.


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