November 30, 2017
Employers can make major performance and productivity improvements by taking a more strategic approach to where they place their people, a new report suggests. Organisations with the closest alignment between their geographical talent footprint and market opportunity tend to be most productive and profitable claims Right people, wrong place?, a new EY report in collaboration with LinkedIn. The report analysed 659 organisations of varied size and scale across 11 sectors and revealed that those that poorly match their workforce to the global sub-sector growth markets are potentially leaving hundreds of millions of dollars of opportunity on the table. Bringing together a combined analysis of current and projected industry market performance from EY with LinkedIn’s insights from more than 530 million members, the report validates and quantifies the value of maximising the alignment between workforce location and market opportunity.
Dennis Layton, EY Global Deputy Leader, People Advisory Services (PAS), says: “The ability to quantify the opportunity that individual organisations have in optimizing their talent footprint is a unique and important insight.
It helps cement the notion that organisations that better connect their global workforce strategy to their global market opportunity, in terms of an end-to-end talent management and mobility approach, can drive huge benefits in terms of both productivity and profitability. This talent-to-market alignment helps organisations that are currently running behind the pack see a clear opportunity to capture growth by focussing their efforts on more strategic workforce and talent planning.”
The findings in the report found that organisations that increase their talent to market alignment over time tend to grow faster. For example, organisations in the top quartile for improving talent-to-market alignment between 2013 and 2016 achieved profit growth that was, on average, 7.8 percentage points higher than those in the lowest quartile.
The insurance sector was particularly strong in this aspect with those organisations showing the highest improvement in talent-to-market alignment achieving profit growth that was, on average, 29 percentage points higher than those with the lowest improvement over this three-year time period. The banking sector was also strong across this time period with the most improved talent-to-market alignment organisations in the sector achieving profit growth that averaged 11 percentage points higher than those with at the lowest end of the spectrum.
National economies with headquartered organisations that had a higher talent-to-market alignment also showed trends toward being more productive, according to the report. North American headquartered firms achieved the closest match between the proportional allocation of talent to a country and that country’s significance in the global sub sector market, while organisations headquartered in Ireland, Japan, China and Canada were all above the global average benchmarked in the report.
The findings show that there are significant implications for GDP growth: if the UK, for example, were to match the level of talent-to-market alignment found in the United States it could potentially be worth around US$900b to the UK economy.
When it came to seniority and business function alignment, many companies often misalign the location of their talent to legacy mature markets rather than to countries where greater revenue and faster growth opportunities lie.
Notable trends were seen in how companies distribute their senior executives, sales, marketing and research talent around the globe with key functions often being underrepresented in crucial markets. Data for the pharmaceutical sector, for example, showed that the proportion of directors and above in the sector are disproportionately positioned in mature markets like the United States, Spain, France, Switzerland and the UK rather than in other countries where greater revenue and faster growth opportunities may exist.
Layton says: This research provides a clear economic imperative for more trade and mobility of the right people to the right places, rather than less. Those organisations that focus on growth-shoring to ensure that the right executive, marketing and sales, product development, research and other talent categories are better matched to global market opportunities will do a better job of capturing share in those markets.”