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Managing talent in a turbulent economy: Part two

Navigating a course through rough waters

Managing talent in a turbulent economyAs the global recession deepens, executives in every major market and across every major industry are struggling to bring corporate costs in line with falling revenues and depressed profits. The second edition in a three-part longitudinal study, “ Managing Talent in a Turbulent Economy: Navigating a Course Through Rough Waters,” examines how executives are responding to the perilous and often unpredictable currents of today’s economy. The report also examines how strategic priorities and talent tactics have changed since our first report in the series, " Managing talent in a turbulent economy: Playing both offense and defence."

Our March 2009 survey of international executives found that austerity measures occupy an increasingly significant portion of management time, outranking efforts to increase sales and serve customers as top priorities now and in the coming months. Redundancies remain widespread, as newspaper headlines attest. In addition, the survey suggests headcount cuts are getting deeper and more difficult for executives and talent managers to make. These managers are struggling with how best to align their workforces with the reality of what many expect to be a prolonged downturn.

Survey highlights include:

  • Nearly half (47 percent) of the executives questioned reported redundancies over the last three months, markedly more than those who had predicted redundancies (38 percent) in our January study.
  • Headcount reductions are a higher workforce management priority in some industries than in others. By a 12-point margin compared to total respondents, companies in the Financial Services sector rank reducing headcount as their top current talent priority. Reducing headcount now and over the next three months ranks as a lower talent priority for Life Sciences/Health Care companies.
  • In order to retain employees, executives surveyed are increasingly focused on three areas: redeploying workers to divisions and jobs in higher demand (31 percent), redirecting outsourced work to in-house employees (27 percent) and increasing the use of flexible work through telecommuting and reduced work weeks (23 percent).

In addition to gauging broad trends in workforce management, “Managing Talent in a Turbulent Economy” also spotlights the actions companies are taking to implement and integrate talent management in their risk management and regulatory compliance operations.

For further in formation, download our publication ' Managing talent in a turbulent economy: Navigating a course through rough waters'. (PDF, 360KB)

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