There is No Talent War - Just Poor Employers

Are you tired of hearing the constant whining and gyrations from so-called experts about the impending or never-ending talent wars? I am, because it’s not true, there are no talent wars just Poor employers.


These employers cannot for the life of them attract good talent because the candidates who are applying to these companies are too well-educated to the fact that these employers would be a death knell to their careers. A living purgatory to all good employee practices, proper compensation, recognition and leadership.


Great employers have no trouble attracting and retaining great talent because they are a shining example of employee and business best practices. Don’t believe me? Get in touch with the most highly rated companies and find out if they are having trouble attracting talent. They might say it’s competitive and that they have to be aggressive for certain skill sets and certain candidates but overall they are not finding it hard to put bums in seats.


If companies are finding it hard to find talent then they have to re-look at why that’s the case. Is it:


1. Their stagnating culture

Companies are always saying the buzz word when it comes to their culture, but no one believes them if the leaders dont’ walk the talk.


2. Lack of leadership

Is the CEO a walking advertisement for talent. Are they the first to pick up the phone to attract a top-notch candidate or to have a talk with someone in the company who may be considering leaving? Do they publicly recognize and reward talented people.


3. Poor communication

Nothing kills employee enthusiasm as much as lack of direction. It creates a lack of trust and that lack of trust is communicated to the outside world as employees leave the company like a sinking ship.


4. Rigid reward model

A round peg will never fit into a square hole, but boy does HR try. Have a flexible but dynamic total reward system (note I did not say pay or compensation system). I am not talking about giving away the company jewels but make it so candidates can have some flexibility in how they want to be rewarded. Leaders here have no trouble attracting great talent.


5. Old fashioned employee rules

Can you believe that some technology companies do not allow their employees to have access to their social network at work. Or employers that will not allow their employees to work from home? Or not allowing employees to call home or who look at them cross-eyed if they have to deal with family matters during the day. Imagine!


6. Poor business model

If your companies crashing and burning, seen as a dinosaur or just have a poor business model you will be having trouble attracting talent. Smart candidates are knowledgeable about their industry and will not be keen on joining an also ran.


So stop blaming the talent wars for your companies lack of ability to find good candidates and start looking at what you can do about the talent in your own backyard first.

Have your say. What do you think?

Views: 2207

Comment by Valentino Martinez on October 16, 2011 at 9:26pm

Yes, Francois—bad employers are their own worst enemy in terms of retention and recruitment.  They make the necessity for external recruiters a lock which is good for externals.


However, talent wars are continuous regardless of employer, industry or geography.  They exist because of the fluidity of changes, large and small, that cause sudden vacuums that didn't exist moments before.  The passing of Steve Jobs is a classic example of, "What now?" for the most admired company in the world for the past four years according to FORTUNE magazine (  


The recent news that climate changes will "redraw wine regions" on America's West Coast is startling to say the least.  And the mothballing of the Space Shuttle and draw-down of boots-on-the-ground worldwide will have significant impact on directly and indirectly related industries, employers and geographies.  The looming retirement age of Baby Boomers; the constant impact of changes in technologies; food safety issues; natural disasters, economic instability; global terrorism…and good old competition (local & global), to mention a few--the point being--things change and staffing and recruitment must adjust (some drastically) to those changes. 


Thus Talent Wars march on.  Some well publicized.  Some stealthy.  Nevertheless, talent wars continue to be waged to meet the demands of mix changes and the demand for ever better quality and diversity.

Comment by Francois Guay on October 17, 2011 at 8:48am




Your right of course. Some talent wars exist, but this piece was to be thought provoking. they exist and they dont exist..depending on the type of employers, economy, specific skill niches etc.

For most employers some cultural changes within the company, better management will eliminate much of the issues with acquiring talent.

Comment by Bill Schultz on October 17, 2011 at 12:31pm

Google is a good employer, yet they're in a major talent war with Facebook (another good employer).

Comment by Francois Guay on October 17, 2011 at 2:08pm

@Bill, right on, so now we are getiting on to what a talent war really is...Is it employers having trouble finding talent in general, for a certain skill set or is it the war for the best talent between a few companies or industry..


Now we are getting somewhere.

Comment by Darryl Dioso on October 17, 2011 at 2:16pm

Great post Francois. Good luck on trying to change some of these orgs though. They are as rigid and stubborn as they come. Many are the classic example of "Successful in spite of themselves."

Comment by Valentino Martinez on October 17, 2011 at 2:52pm

@Francois--your premise was "There Is No Talent War..."  When I pointed out there are in fact "Talent Wars" driven by a variety of factors you agreed that there are talent wars and now you're excited about "getting somewhere" in describing them.

Maybe your title should have read:  "Talent Wars:  What Are They and Who is Having Them?"  Then we would be getting somewhere sooner.

Comment by Francois Guay on October 17, 2011 at 3:03pm



I believe what most employers say are talent wars are mostly caused by poor management practices and my posting was identifying some of the things that employers could do to correct these issues. There are some talent wars but they are far and few between as compared to the mayhem caused by poor employers.There are very few absolutes in life. (-:

Comment by Sandra McCartt on October 17, 2011 at 5:08pm

There is now and there has been ,since the first tribe tried to entice the best hunter to join their tribe ,a war for talent.  There will always be a war for the top talent in every industry.  In every local area there is a war for what companies perceive to be the most talented employees available.  Sorry Francois it's not about poor companies it's about the shortage of talent.  That is all.

Comment by Valentino Martinez on October 17, 2011 at 5:29pm

@Sandra--even better putting Talent Wars into an historical perspective. 

@Francois--ever get chosen 1st or last in a playground "pickup game" when you were a youngster?  Talent Wars started for all of us on the playground.  So your "few and far between" assessment is incorrect...Talent Wars are happening all around us.  On playgrounds (Ask your kids).  In any kind of team, group, city, state, company, national and international competition--all revolving around "Talent".  When we get invaded by space aliens then TALENT WARS will go GALACTIC. BOOM!

Comment by Francois Guay on October 17, 2011 at 6:05pm

As I mentioned earlier there is a war for top talent. I just believe as many experts do that the overall war for talent is much over-hyped, have you seen a war for talent for a burger flipper...or for basic retail positions. The challenge there is the working conditions/pay etc are crappy. So it's easy to say there is a talent war for a headhunter, it's our job and there are positions etc where there is a war but for most jobs and many industries there are not talent wars just poor employers.


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