Talent is more important to business leaders than risk and investment, says PwC survey

Managing talent is now top of the CEO's agenda, according to a survey of 1,200 CEOs globally by PricewaterhouseCoopers (PwC).

Around 83% of the 1,200 CEOs surveyed globally plan to change their firm’s talent management strategy over the next 12 months.

Risk management and investment are next on the CEO’s priority list, at 77% and 76% respectively. Last year risk management was the number one priority for 85% of CEOs, followed by investment (81%)and talent third (78%).

Michael Rendell, head of HR consulting at PwC, said: "As we move out of the downturn, CEOs are putting the focus firmly on their people. Competition for talent is intensifying as recruitment activity picks up in some sectors and there are increasing difficulties finding staff with the right skills. CEOs often speak of the importance of talent, but there’s not enough evidence of action being taken.  The survey findings are encouraging, suggesting talent will be reflected more in company strategy.  HR professionals need to help CEOs see what can and should be done."  

UK CEOs see the main change to talent management will be in deploying more employees on international assignments.

The other significant changes to HR strategy planned by UK CEOs will be the greater use of non- financial rewards to motivate staff (58%) and increased work with government and education systems to improve skills (52%).  These were also the top changes anticipated by CEOs globally.

CEOs believe the main challenges over the next few years will be a limited supply of candidates with the right skills, and those individuals with the right skills lacking flexibility and creativity. Another major challenge ,according to the survey, will be recruiting and integrating younger employees.

Rendell said: "Attracting and integrating younger employees, the so-called, millenials, who have grown up with technology, may help bridge some of the skills gaps. Working with schools and universities to tap into this talent and harness it to business needs is also important."