Is the War For Talent Returning? Yes, It May Already Be Underway

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The “War For Talent” is one of those concepts that has been overused and over analyzed in the past, but as many have noted, it never really went away, even during the Great Recession and its aftermath.

I pointed this out about this time last year when I asked Are You Ready For War For Talent 2.0? At that time, there was a survey from Bersin & Associates that found that, “talent shortages are cited as a key business challenge by more than 50 percent of business leaders surveyed for the first time in almost three years — since the beginning of the Great Recession – as attention shifts from cost cutting to things like innovation, skills development, and rebuilding business growth as the economy slowly improves.”

Yes, businesses have been wanting to hire, but are they finally ready to fire? Dr. John Sullivan says they are — and that the new War for Talent is already cranking along.

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Here’s what he wrote over at TLNT’s sister website,

Here is a heads-up alert for you: be prepared because not only will the infamous “War For Talent” be returning to impact your firm, but it is already underway in its full intensity here in the Silicon Valley. Begin planning for this next round of talent wars, because once the intense competition begins, there simply won’t be time to catch up with, no less get ahead of your talent competition.

If you’re not familiar with the “war for talent” phenomena, it involves a prolonged period of intense competition where top applicants are both scarce and arrogant, employees leave by the droves, firms regularly raid each other for talent, and bidding for top talent is commonplace.

If you have global contacts, you already know that not just in the Silicon Valley, but also in Australia, as well as parts of Canada, India, and China are already involved in the latest round of the “War for Talent.” Entire industries like social media, gaming, and oil/minerals are currently involved in a war for talent, as are top-rated firms like Facebook, Google, Apple, Zynga, and most start-ups in social media, mobile phones, medicine, and technology. Here in the Silicon Valley, talent competition has already returned to near 1999 levels.”

A new War For Talent will have serious consequences for many organizations that have either ignored and been indifferent toward their talent, or worse, treated them poorly and took them for granted during the economic downturn. And if a War For Talent might have an impact on your organization — and it will for many — you really need read what Dr. John Sullivan has to say. He adds:

Like it or not, the war for talent is returning and it is already at ferocious levels in the Silicon Valley and in other high-growth areas around the world. These tremendous differentials in talent demand between different business units and regions may even force large global firms to adopt a dual talent management strategy — one where you simultaneously manage for both slow and fast growth at the same time. So if you skip over this warning, please remember later on that you read it here, when there was still time to prepare.”

For more on how the War For Talent is returning, click here.

John Hollon is Editor-at-Large at ERE Media and was the founding Editor of A longtime newspaper, magazine, and business journal editor, John has deep roots in the talent management space. He's the former Editor of Workforce Management magazine and, served as Editor of RecruitingDaily, and was Vice President for Content at HR technology firm Checkster. An award-winning journalist, John has written extensively about HR, talent management, leadership, and smart business practices, including for the popular Fistful of Talent blog. Contact him at, connect with him on LinkedIn, or follow him on Twitter @johnhollon.