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Manpower: World is entering ‘Human Age’

Manpower Inc., U.S.-based employment agency, said on Jan. 27 at the World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland, that the world had entered a new era: The Human Age.

The concept was introduced by Manpower CEO Jeffrey Joerres in his presentation “Entering the Human Age –- unleashing and leveraging human potential in the new reality” at the forum.

Manpower says this new age has significant implications both for employers and for individuals, as human potential now becomes the major agent of economic growth.

The world is experiencing an era of great transformation, the agency argues, where business models will have to be redesigned, value propositions redefined and social systems reinvented.

“Our ability as companies, as governments and of course as individuals to adjust to this new reality, this new way of doing things, will depend upon to what extent we can tap into inner human potential -- talent has become the key differentiator,” said Joerres. “Understanding how to unleash this spirit, passion and potential is not a one-size-fits-all approach and will require employers to engage with their people on a human level.”

Global forces such as the recession, rapid technological development, shift in demographics and the rise of emerging markets are also conspiring to bring about the Human Age, and increasing the velocity of change, the agency says.

“Many organizations have streamlined and redefined their people practices, cutting costs while driving efficiency. Consequently, many companies have come to realize that if they can unlock the potential of the right people in the right place, they can achieve all they did before and more -– even in a challenging environment,” Manpower Korea CEO Frank Moon said. He added that the pressure driving innovation talent is becoming a scarce resource with employers struggling to find the right talent for the right position, at the right time.

According to Manpower’s most recent survey of more than 35,000 employers across 36 countries, more than 30 percent are struggling to fill key roles vital to the success of their organization.

“Talent isn’t just people, it’s more than people. It’s the person that fits what you need right now; the skills, the behaviors, the way of operating; the ability to operate in a chaotic, global environment. Talent is specific,” said Moon.

“In the past, for companies to grow their business, they needed capital. What we’re seeing now is that in order to get ahead you have to have access to talent -– not just capital. As this process evolves, we’ll see capitalism shifting to talentism, and access to talent, rather than capital, become the definitive competitive advantage.”

In the Human Age, it is more important than ever that companies take the time to understand what their talent needs will be and align their talent strategy closely with their business strategy, the agency argues. Then, they must become more agile in terms of how they attract, retain and develop their employees. Employers need to ensure that they update practices to unlock the potential they need to thrive in this new reality.

Manpower says the Human Age presents a challenging and exciting opportunity for organizations to leverage the potential of their greatest asset –- their people -– to drive the business forward. The recession, combined with advances in technology, expectations of business transparency and social mobility, have brought us to the cusp of a new age. According to Manpower, governments, businesses and individuals must work together to unleash the potential of the human spirit, which will help us to make sense of this new era.
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