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The War for Talent Heats Up--But Employers are Unprepared

July 15, 2004
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Most companies don't have the skills they need on staff to win in the latest "war for talent," according to an Accenture study of 244 senior executives in the United States, Europe and Australia.

Only 17 percent of respondents, for example, said that they would describe the skill level of their workforce as "industry-leading."

Among the other survey findings: the three most important human resources initiatives identified were improving worker productivity, improving the adaptability of the business to new opportunities, and facilitating organizational change. But, Accenture reports, "no more than 12 percent said they were very satisfied with their progress on any of these initiatives, and just 18 percent said they were very satisfied with the overall performance of their human resources function."

Peter Cheese is managing partner of Accenture's Human Performance service line. "The recent focus on cost-cutting," Cheese says, "has led many companies to lose marketplace momentum. Now, as they ramp up investment in growth-oriented activities to achieve higher levels of performance, they need to regain their competitive edge in terms of recruiting, retaining and developing high-caliber employees."

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