Issue 109 - 04 | Talent: Raid It, Own It, Set It Free!

By Orly Lobel
Published Sept. 11, 2013 10:00 a.m.
“In a prophetic speech at a 1943 assembly, Winston Churchill predicted that ‘the empires of the future will be empires of the mind.’ The future is now: The knowledge economy is here. Gone are the days when competitive advantage came from ‘real’ assets. It’s human assets that give companies an edge. Skill, creativity, and smarts are the modern ingredients of success. Talent has become the most valuable asset for a company and talent is scarce. There is a scientist drought. There is an engineer drought. A recent McKinsey Global Institute report finds that despite unemployment rates being high, a third of American companies have positions that remain open for extended periods because the right people are hard to find.

The best and the brightest are in fierce demand, and we fight over them like we fight over no other asset. This fight, the talent war, is only projected to become more intense. An American Society for Training and Development report predicts that by 2015, 76% of U.S. jobs will require highly-skilled workers. The report projects that 60% of new jobs will require skills held by 20% of the population.

But, talent is not a commodity. It lives and breathes. It can be enhanced and it can be depleted, depending on how we treat it. The ways we fight over talent determine the economic success of a region.”

About Orly Lobel | Orly Lobel is the Weckstein Professor of Law and founding member of the Center for Intellectual Property Law and Markets at the University of San Diego. She is the author of three books and numerous articles on behavioral law and economics, innovation policy, human capital, regulation and governance. A world traveler and internationally acclaimed scholar, Lobel has taught at Yale, Harvard, Tel-Aviv, and UCSD. She lives in La Jolla, CA.

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