Right Time, Right Place, Right Talent: A G20 Imperative

Liz Crawford, National Practice Leader, Executive Search & Selection

How we can assess talent and better deliver human capital resources to maximise productivity

At the G20 Summit in Brisbane, a key focus will be on human capital resourcing and how building the right capabilities to deliver in the right places at the right time is critical to achieving growth targets. In that context, mobility, flexibility and adaptability of executive level human capital assets is crucial from a leadership perspective.

There are ways we can better utilise executive skills and the placement of talent to maximise productivity in something like a ‘right place right time right talent’ model. And there are costs if we don’t. Underemployment and unemployment impact productivity in Australia and the world.

One strategy to better manage and identify both local and global talent might be to develop objective ways of measuring leadership capabilities. If we can award organisations with ISO certification, why not people and skills too? It would make executives marketable not just across industries but also borders – allowing us to tap into an existing resource to increase productivity and share knowledge and practices around the globe. This would be in a way that is understood globally – perhaps through an ISO for Transferable Leadership Capabilities that provides accreditation against a universally accepted framework.

More broadly, there is still a brain drain from Australia with estimates suggesting that one in four Australian job seekers are also looking at overseas opportunities. Only the Irish are keener on international jobs, with 30 percent of their job seekers looking overseas against 9 percent in the UK and 8 percent in the USA. And there are obvious benefits in keeping our smart people in Australia; at the same time, our world is a global village so it makes sense to also facilitate inbound and outbound mobility.

Indeed, executive mobility in itself has become a factor in scarcity and market demand. For Australian executives, mobility is a top five priority yet Australian companies continue to struggle to make progress with their mobility initiatives, and this creates the risk of executives looking for their own opportunities.

What are the best approaches to support the G20 growth targets and increase our economic resilience?

We need to engage the skills we have in Australia and globally as much as possible, and not only at executive levels. In addition to gainfully employing our skilled executives, we need to look at our broader workplace as a vital resource becoming more creative and finding ways to tap into the skills of the ageing workforce, engaging more women, more indigenous people, young people, and people with disability in the work force.

It’s significant that the Intergenerational Report 2010 found that increasing the participation of mature age workers by 5 percent in the next 40 years would increase real GDP per capita by 2.4 percent. This is clearly a resource we need to put to better use!

In addition to recognising transferable skills objectively, we must also change our thinking, remove biases, and open up our work cultures. Only then will we reap the benefits of diversity and the higher productivity this will create.

Liz Crawford is National Practice Leader, Executive Search & Selection at KPMG Australia

Photo:G 20 Labour and Employment Minister’s Meeting in Melbourne. Opening Session
© Commonwealth Government of Australia

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