Why Talent Development Should Be Top Of Your Priority List In 2024

Talent development

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Xeinadin Group

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The Irish economy continues to be a success story other nations look on with envy. 

Yes, there are debates around how much the country’s world-beating GDP relies on a very generous tax regime and the multinational investment that helps to attract. But the kind of economic growth Ireland has enjoyed over the past couple of years while many close neighbours have flatlined post-pandemic is down to a lot more than tax policy.

Another key factor is the talents and capabilities of the workforce. Ireland ranks 14th in the IMD’s World Talent Ranking, an assessment that considers labour market competitiveness alongside skills and education across a nation’s workforce. The talent available within Ireland is also being well utilised, with unemployment currently below 5%. 

But operating in a thriving economy built on a skilled and productive workforce does not mean Irish firms can afford to rest on their laurels. Though it sounds counter-intuitive to say so, there are downsides to the current health of the labour market.

It’s significant, for example, that four out of five Irish employers reported difficulties hiring the right people in 2023. That’s partly a function of high employment rates. It means workers hold all the cards. And they are smart enough and skilled enough to know their worth. They can afford to pick and choose their opportunities.

That’s why, even when Ireland ranks so highly on workplace skills, no business can afford to overlook talent development. 

A strategy for growth

Talent development takes on even greater strategic importance in a competitive labour market. Particularly with regards to more advanced and in-demand skills, the costs and challenges of external recruitment can increase significantly. High employment rates are a good thing. But for a business planning for growth and aiming to expand its workforce accordingly, it makes recruitment tricky. You are faced with trying to attract talent that is already in employment elsewhere.

Coaxing people away from stable employment isn’t easy. You have to up your game on the remuneration and benefits packages you offer. And promoting a position to audiences who might not necessarily be looking for new opportunities is trickier, too. 

The result is often that recruitment takes longer as well as costs more. And the longer it takes to fill required positions, the slower growth is.

Having a strong in-house talent development pipeline takes the edge off how much you have to rely on the external labour market jungle. Rather than aiming straight for the ‘finished article’ in terms of the higher skills and experience you want, you can orientate your recruitment around people a step or two down the career ladder and then look to train them up.

The benefits of this approach include the fact that you can recruit from a wider pool, including people with less experience or who are bringing transferable skills from another industry. You can synchronise your recruitment and development to support growth at a pace you control. 

The people you develop in-house to fill higher positions will be steeped in the culture and processes of your organisation, and therefore primed to perform at a high level. And finally, a strong talent development programme is also a great asset to have in recruitment. Prospective employees will choose the businesses where they think their career ambitions can be fulfilled.

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