• Rob Tillman

Massive Turnover Will Shape the Talent Markets



As an executive recruiter and coach, I’ve spent much of the last several months listening and learning from leaders and investors. Early on, the conversations were very personal and centered around how the crisis was directly impacting each individual and their families. They were adjusting to working from home and concerned the economic crisis would severely impact their businesses and their careers. Later, the discussions shifted to the lasting impacts of the crisis and the realization that things will never be the same. But how?


Working From Home Forever


The first major trend is the realization that working from home is here to stay, and we will never travel for business the way we once did. This has huge ramifications for commercial office space and the airline and hotel industries, but the big change is how we will work in the future. While we will surely reconnect with the office and our colleagues in person, we’ll never go fully back. Technology tools allowed many of us to continue working, and these tools will only get better. If anyone thinks we’ll be jumping on a train or the highway every day to commute into the office, you’re kidding yourself.


Boomers Will Retire En Masse


The second big trend is how this massive reset is impacting the mindset and plans of baby-boomers. While the initial response to the crisis was to turn to been-there-done-that leaders, many of the boomers I’ve spoken with highlight another trend; boomers are going to retire in huge numbers over the next several years. This is nothing new and has been predicted for years, but the crisis is accelerating these decisions for nearly every boomer. If your home’s value is going up and your retirement portfolio is intact, do you really need to continue to work? In this new environment, do you really want to? And if you’re hiring a new leader, do you want a leader with a different skill set and a fresh perspective?


The Pace of Change is Increasing


This is perhaps the biggest trend dramatically impacting all of us. Think about the trends already in motion before the crisis; traditional retail dying a slow death, technology services supporting mobility and flexibility, the explosion of data and artificial intelligence, and the migration of millions. Fast forward to today, and it’s not unreasonable to conclude our malls will quickly become fulfillment centers. Collaboration software, mobility tools, and 5G networks will allow us to work from anywhere, and data analytics and AI will allow companies to streamline and target their businesses like never before. So, why wouldn’t people leave the cities for the suburbs, and leave California, New York, and Chicago to work in Colorado, Texas, Florida, and Arizona?


Disruption Will Drive Turnover


When people ask me what I see in the talent markets, I see a huge increase in turnover right around the corner. As the crisis passes and we experience a global economic rebound, boomers will retire en masse, the competition for agile leaders coming up in their careers will be intense, and the speed of change for every business will be dramatic.The forces that have kept the boomers in the workforce will give way to the allure of moving on. The dizzying pace of change will shake out the winners and losers more quickly than we’ve ever seen, and the competition for a much smaller pool of talented leaders will stretch all of us. So, when leaders and investors ask me about what I’m seeing in the market, I tell them “Get ready for massive turnover like we’ve never seen before”. Are you ready?

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