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Using global mobility to navigate the skills gap

For businesses with an eye on growth, skills-based hiring will play a significant role in talent management in 2024, as the rapidly evolving job market demands individuals who can quickly adapt to today’s challenges and technologies.

The skills gap has remained a hot topic throughout 2023, and it's going nowhere.

Having the right workforce underpins business success, but in recent years, a skills gap has impacted organisations globally and stunted growth across various sectors.

Skills vs qualifications 

Of course, traditional qualifications remain valuable but may not always align with the specific skills and competencies required to grasp new innovations across different industries.  

Breaking the green ceiling: HR leaders’ role in closing the green skills gap

Skills-based hiring gives employers more confidence that the candidates they source possess the required talents and capabilities to thrive.

This approach streamlines the recruitment process and ensures companies stay agile and responsive to market shifts. 

Going global 

In today’s global talent crisis, businesses must fight harder than ever to attract and retain the right people with the right skills at the right time.

According to Manpower Group, the war for talent reached a 17-year high in 2023, with nearly four in five employers struggling to recruit the people they need. 

As the skills shortage bites across regions and industries, employers increasingly rely on workforce mobility to fill the gaps.

Manpower found more than half (55%) of those businesses polled say they are willing to hire internationally, and 57% plan to offer more flexibility in where employees work as talent scarcity grows.

Another survey by EY revealed three in four employers consider mobility crucial for business continuity, and 93% of employees say working internationally would be life-changing.

Education leaving regional skills shortages unfulfilled

The talent lifecycle  

The benefits of global mobility can be felt at every stage of the talent management lifecycle – from attracting talent and upskilling to succession planning and retirement. 

There are generally considered to be six stages in the talent management lifecycle: 


Stage 1: Sourcing and recruiting 

The lifecycle begins with talent acquisition. Global mobility can be essential in building an attractive employee value proposition (EVP) for prospective employees.

That’s particularly true for those from younger generations who are often more mobile. Advertising benefits and perks such as travel allowances, relocation packages, and international progression opportunities can also boost a company’s reputation, meaning the talent will come to you. 


Stage 2: Hiring and onboarding 

The second stage is between the time a candidate accepts an offer and their first few months in the job. Employers should regularly check in with new hires, mainly if the recruit has been posted abroad.

They may need extra assistance to settle in, make new connections or learn the language, and should have a mentor appointed to help address any early pain points. Surveys can also be a helpful tool to gain feedback and ensure the process works more smoothly in the future.

Four insights into the skills-based future of talent management


Stage 3: Performance management 

Once an employee has been in their role for a reasonable amount of time, the priority becomes managing their performance and that of their wider department or the organisation as a whole.

Are the right processes and people in place to meet the business’s goals? If someone has been strategically placed in a new location to address a skills gap, for example, has this ambition been realised? Are they able to make a tangible difference? If not, why not? 


Stage 4: Employee development 

The development phase is an opportunity for employees to develop new soft or hard skills. Global mobility can provide lots of upskilling moments, providing they’re harnessed in the right way.

Organisations should prioritise development goals that align with the skills the business needs and the direction the employee wants to take in their career.

Make a learning and development budget available so there are opportunities for self-directed learning or local training courses, which can also widen the employee’s professional network in a new country. 


Stage 5: Retention 

Global mobility can be a strategic tool for retaining talent in a competitive business environment, but it requires planning, communication and support.

International opportunities can be a real draw for ambitious employees.

Still, there needs to be a good fit in terms of their skills and competencies and their personal and family situation. Employees will also need training, coaching and mentoring to help prepare them for their new challenge. 


Stage 6: Succession planning 

Repatriation is a tricky and often overlooked part of the global mobility process.

The end of an assignment should be planned and communicated well in advance.

Employees should feel happy returning to a meaningful, rewarding role that makes the most of their international experience. There should be time to hand over to the next person and reintegration support as the employee gets used to returning to their home country (preventing reverse culture shock). 


The roadmap to global talent management strategy 

Bridging the skills gap isn’t a quick fix but an ongoing process that requires collaboration and commitment from various internal and external stakeholders, including governments, educational institutions, businesses, and candidates.

By prioritising talent management, upskilling and inclusivity, it's possible to reduce the gap between the skills demanded by employers and those possessed by the workforce. 

Developing an effective global talent management strategy is the marker of a competitive company that can meet the shifting needs of today’s workforce while achieving its objectives.

In 2024, focus on aligning that strategy to the company’s overall goals and vision - by doing this, it’s possible to realise global mobility’s wider business benefits around talent recruitment and retention, diversity, and developing an impressive leadership talent pipeline. 


By Zain Ali, CEO and co-founder of Centuro Global