2017’s Top Talent Management Stories

Talent managers faced no shortage of challenges in 2017 from finding workers to fill today’s new and emerging jobs (e.g., in data science) to ongoing concerns about gender relations in the workplace. Below are Talent Management 360s votes for the top five talent management stories of 2017.

Global Talent Is Under Attack

The year kicked off, at least in the United States, with an aggressive crackdown on foreign workers. Indeed, in early 2017, there were doubts that some workers, including those on H1B visas, would be able to return to the United States to continue jobs they already held. While uncertainty about who can and cannot enter the country to visit or work is now somewhat less ambiguous than it was in early 2017, doubts about the future of foreign workers continue. Moving forward, there it seems likely that hiring Americans over foreign workers will be a strong trend and that talent managers in nearby nations, such as Canada, may benefit most from the new political and hiring climate taking hold in the United States.

Gender Inequities Persist in the Workplace

If you didn’t already know, 2017 made it crystal clear that women make less money than men in all sectors and often have to tolerate harassment and even sexual assault in the workplace. The year kicked off with Susan Fowler’s tell-all blog post about her experience of working as an engineer at Uber. Her revelations would be followed by dozens of other big reveals by women about just how bad the tech industry really is when it comes to recruiting and retaining women employees, especially in tech positions. Confessions, such as Fowler’s, however, were too much for some men in tech. About half way through an already tumultuous year, a disgruntled Google employee issued as a men’s right manifesto in which he claimed that women suffer from “Neuroticism (higher anxiety, lower stress tolerance)” and this, he concluded, “may contribute to the higher levels of anxiety women report on Googlegeist and to the lower number of women in high stress jobs.” If things were not already bad enough in 2017, the year came to a close with a tidal wave of sexual harassment and sexual assault allegations against hundreds of high-profile film stars, media celebrities, and politicians. This led Time Magazine to elect the “silence breakers” as their “Person of the Year.” A December cover of Time featured a group of women who came forward to speak out in 2017, and Fowler was just one of the many women featured.

We’re Not Prepared for the Fourth Industrial Revolution

If you haven’t already heard, the Fourth Industrial Revolution is underway and the talent pipeline is far from prepared. In fact, a recent study by the World Economic Forum concluded, “On average, by 2020, more than a third of the desired core skill sets of most occupations will be comprised of skills that are not yet considered crucial to the job today, according to our respondents.”  Many of these “new skills” will require workers with high-level data science expertise and/or expertise on the Internet of Things. As a result, the information and communication, mobility, infrastructure, and financial service industries will be especially impacted by this shift. 

Continuing Education is the New Normal

Given the major changes about to come our way, there is a growing recognition that lifelong learning will soon be the norm. Indeed, even high-skilled workers will need to continuously retrain. This means that organizations of all kinds have to scale up their training programs, but given the high demands for ongoing retraining, in-house training programs may not be enough. On this basis, it seems likely that most organizations will need to create new ways for employees to remain relevant over time. Partnerships with private educational alternatives, including schools in the still-rapidly expanding online coding bootcamp industry, may help fill the training gap that is expected to appear across sectors over the coming decade.

We’re Still Talking About and Ignoring Workplace Engagement

Workplace engagement has been a major topic in the talent management sector for over a decade and guess what? In 2017, we were still talking about workplace engagement but were we doing anything about it? Earlier this year, at a Disrupt HR event, leadership expert Camille Preston explained that in order to move beyond the talk and into action, talent managers need to do much more than order pizza for their employees. Engagement must focus on transforming the entire worker and workplace from the ground up.

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December 21, 2017   Updated :May 2, 2020      

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