In the late 90’s, the War for Talent meant companies’ demand for capable employees outstripped the available supply, in part because the growth in the economy was accelerating demand. Now, we still have a war for talent, but it’s due more to supply side issues, specifically a lack of supply, which is chilling, given our meager economic growth. ACT, the college test company, recently reported “Only 39 percent of ACT-tested 2013 graduates met three or more of the four ACT College Readiness Benchmarks. Conversely, 31 percent of graduates did not meet any of the benchmarks [emphasis added].”
And just in case you think the low levels of performance are due to rising standards, ACT notes: “The research-based ACT College Readiness Benchmarks specify the minimum score students must earn on each of the four subject tests that make up the ACT college readiness assessment (English, math, reading, and science) to have about a 75 percent chance of earning a grade of C or higher [emphasis added] in a typical credit-bearing first-year college course in that subject area.
Net, net: As a leader, now more than ever, you need to develop and retain the high potential talent you already have. You can’t assume you’ll readily find it in the labor pool, now or for the foreseeable future.