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Global talent is on the move.

At the end of 2013 market research specialists Finaccord revealed that the number of global expats reached 50.5m during 2013, with 73.6% of these classed as ‘individual workers’ – the mobile talent which is becoming increasingly vital to the economic success of international organisations.

Make no mistake, 2014 is all about the talent.

Predictions from industry leaders and leading consultancies such as Deloitte suggest that the competition for top talent will intensify this year, as the global employment market becomes increasingly candidate centric. Employers are bracing themselves for higher rejection rates and more counteroffers while HR departments under pressure seek new and innovative ways of giving their brand a competitive edge.

Here come the millennials
As the global economy springs back to life and the profile of the expat continues to evolve, millennials will become the target of talent acquisition strategies.

By 2020, millennials will represent 40% of the working population around the world.

With this new generation of professionals comes a markedly different set of expectations and career aspirations which French employers must tap into if they are to compete effectively. With their global mindset and aptitude for international assignments, millennials are in search of more than ‘a job’.
In their constant quest for fulfilment, they seek professional support, career development opportunities and flexible working arrangements from their employers, but that is only the beginning. A survey by the Intelligence Group revealed:

  • 64% of millennials aspire to make the world a better place.
  • 72% would prefer to be their own boss. If employed, 79% want their line manager to act as a mentor.
  • 88% desire a collaborative working environment.
  • 74% want flexible work schedules
  • 88% want ‘work-life integration’; note ‘integration’, not ‘balance’.

The shift in the duration of international assignments may in part reflect this evolving workforce. PricewaterhouseCooper’s “Talent Mobility : 2020 and Beyond” noted that the length of postings is falling to an average of around 18 months and in some cases less than a year.

Can France compete in 2014?
France’s ability to attract global talent remains ‘respectable’ and its tentative economic recovery should strengthen its position. 2014 will see a steady but slow recovery in the French economy. The IMF upgraded its GDP growth forecast for France to 0.9% for 2014, held back predominantly by policy uncertainty. It is anticipated that the external sector will drive the recovery but the domestic economy will be slower to recover. Beyond that, Ernst and Young suggest growth of 1.3% per year from 2015 to 2017.
Graduate business school INSEAD seems to concur. In association with Singapore’s Human Capital Leadership Institute and Adecco, INSEAD placed France in the top 20 of its first Global Talent Competitiveness Index at the end of 2013 – it scraped in at 20th place. Each country was assessed on its ability to attract and incubate talent.

Cautious optimism is also reflected in the labour market. Manpower Group in France anticipated an overall hiring increase in the first quarter of 2%, with finance and business sectors predicting an 8% increase in their hiring plans and a healthy outlook for the remainder of the year.

2014 and beyond
With the total number of global expats expected to reach 56.8m by 2017 the way ahead for France is one of opportunity. Tapping into the millennial talent pool is essential for the French economy to continue to emerge from the long shadow of economic recession. A talent attraction strategy taking into account the needs of the new generation is vital to meet the long-term demands of business and strengthen its standing in the heart of the Eurozone.
Author : Kate Smedley
Kate worked in the UK and international franchise industry as a senior level recruiter for 18 years before making the transition into freelance writing. Her specialist subjects include global mobility, talent management and all aspects of the hiring process.

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