Bridging The Gap Between Employers’ And Employees’ Needs Is Key To “Future-Proofing” HR – Mercer’s 2016 Global Talent Trends Study

Significant differences exist between employers’ plans for developing talent and employees’ views on an effective workplace

India, 11th April, 2016: The key to achieving business growth is radically redefining how talent is managed, developed and incentivized with tightening labor markets, increased sophistication in hiring for best fit and a more demanding employee population. According to Mercer’s 2016 Global Talent Trends Study unveiled today, the perspective of both employers and employees, a lack of development, outdated processes and discontent with the role of managers are the main drivers of workforce dissatisfaction. This comprehensive study incorporates the views of both employers and employees on key workplace issues and priorities, and is based on the perspectives of more than 1,730 HR leaders and over 4,500 employees in all industries across 17 countries.

Astonishingly, 85% of organizations report that their talent management programs and policies need an overhaul. Managing these changes requires support from leadership; however only 4% of HR professionals report that the HR function is viewed as a strategic business partner within their organizations. Additionally, Mercer’s study finds 9 out of 10 organizations anticipate that the competition for talent will increase in 2016 and more than one-third expect this increase to be significant (see Figure 1). However, despite 70% of organizations reporting they are confident about filling critical roles with internal candidates, 28% of employees say they plan to leave in the next 12 months even though they are satisfied with their current role.


While 66% of companies in Asia feel confident about filling roles internally, 29% of employees plan to leave this year even though they are satisfied, primarily due to the lack of career progression opportunities. Ms. Shanthi Naresh, India Business Leader – Talent Consulting and Information Solutions, Mercer said, “In India, our clients are increasingly talking about a build versus buy strategy to both create a talent pipeline, and provide employees a compelling career value proposition. However, creating the right infrastructure to identify the right workforce numbers and capabilities required to support a dynamic business environment, and then to invest in building the talent pool is a two-four year process. Organizations have to identify tactics to hold on to critical talent while this infrastructure is being created.”

In today’s global environment, successful talent strategies depend on an organization’s ability to engage, inspire and retain employees of different genders, ages, races and backgrounds. According to Mercer’s study, leveraging an increasingly diverse labor pool is the third most important workforce trend impacting business, following the rising competition for talent from emerging economies and talent scarcity (see Figure 2).


“Employers are experiencing ever-growing competition for labor. At the same time, unemployment remains high in many countries around the world. The issue goes well beyond lack of available talent,” said Mr. Ilya Bonic, Senior Partner and President of Mercer’s Talent business. “It’s a lack of the right talent where and when it is needed to drive competitive advantage and deliver business results. For talent that has analytic skills, inspirational leadership capability, and a global mindset, demand continues to exceed the supply.”

The importance that organizations have placed on developing a diverse workforce has not translated into actions that are visible to employees. While 73% of companies are working towards diverse leadership teams, only 54% of employees say their organization has effective programs in place to do so.

Ms. Kate Bravery, Partner and Global Solutions Leader for Mercer’s Talent business added, “Employees today have more options than ever before. They are demanding a new value proposition that combines greater career support with flexibility to manage their work and more opportunities to develop their skills. HR professionals are challenged to meet employees’ demands and achieve a talent advantage, especially if they don’t have a seat at the table – and this is crucial if they are to remain a viable part in the talent ecosystem.”

She added, “Bridging the gap between employee and employer views will require substantial changes from HR. This includes improved operational capabilities around talent sourcing, enhanced tools and managerial capabilities to deliver a compelling career proposition, and proficiency in workforce analytics for a data-driven approach to managing talent flows.”

In tackling talent issues, employers need to make sure that their efforts to build the workplace of the future have a material impact on attraction and productivity. Mercer’s study identified five priorities for organizations to address this year namely; build diverse talent pools, embrace the new work equation, architect compelling careers, simplify talent processes and redefine the value of HR.

While these priorities are consistent across organizations and regions, they are viewed differently by employees and employers.