Mitigating Risk in a Talent Short Market

Posted by: Matt


Mitigating Risk In a Talent Short Market

Identifying and securing the top talent in your industry is one of the biggest challenges you face in businesses today. Having the right people in place to lead your organisation through both economic downturns and sudden periods of growth is crucial to long-term success.

Studies indicate a real shortage of leadership talent in both New Zealand and the global market. The problem is exacerbated as baby boomers, with their slew of once-affordable (and, in some cases, free) qualifications begin to retire.

A bigger issue is the tendency for organisations to take a narrow, short-termist approach to talent management, focusing on securing and retaining high-performers at the expense of devising a holistic, future-proof talent retention system that addresses contingencies like escalating costs and declining employee performance.

In the rush to secure top talent, usually at great expense, it’s all too easy for a business to lose sight of their long-term strategic requirements, especially in the first 36 months, when the central obsession is ‘growth.’ To help you develop a more sustainable talent management strategy, let’s take a look at five key risk categories, and the questions they raise for your business:

1) Ability

Do you have the breadth of skills you need to compete now and in the future? Are you pursuing a handful of high performers at the expense of fostering a happy, loyal, productive workforce?

2) Expense

Is there a risk your workforce will become unaffordable? The more sought-after the employee, the harder they are to retain. Throwing endless pay rises and perks at your high performers only serves to reinforce their self-image as an indispensable employee with plenty of options outside your company. Far better to spread the responsibility, opportunity and rewards as equally as you can across your team.

3) Capacity

Can you deliver your business plan if you lose one or two individuals? As your organization grows, relying too heavily on the expertise of a small percentage of your workforce is a recipe for disaster, so make sure you have the capacity to handle unexpected departures. They happen.

4) Loyalty

Is there a risk of your top talent becoming disengaged with your brand? Again, focus too much on retaining the worker and you risk losing sight of the importance of the work itself.

5) Compliance

Just because someone is highly-qualified doesn’t make them ethical or even law-abiding. Before hiring that stellar candidate, ask yourself: what’s the risk regarding behaviour and compliance with local laws and regulations? Do they have the right attitude to playing by the rules or are they over-ambitious in a way that could put your business at risk?

Finding the right talent for your company is about much more than identifying candidates who tick all the critical boxes. The interview process should help you separate the wheat from the chaff, but it should also help you get a feel for the high-performing candidates who might just  use your organisation as a stepping stone, with ambitions to jump ship at the next attractive looking port.


Matt is a Director of The Talent Hive and leads the Engineering recruitment practice within the business. Originally from the UK he’s been living in New Zealand for 11 years. Matt is a retired ‘amateur’ athlete who has given up chasing great marathon times for chasing his young children around the park, a far more worthy (if not exhausting) pursuit.

At The Talent Hive we specialise in connecting IT & Engineering professionals with the right career opportunities. We encourage collaboration, socialising your success and sharing industry insight and expertise. Start the journey, connect with The Talent Hive today.

Categorised as: Talent Search & Management