The War for Executive Talent Heats Up

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The shrinking pool of talent is becoming one of the top concerns of executives, according to a worldwide survey of business leaders undertaken by Cornerstone International Group, a global leader in retained search and HR consulting.

After 18 months, 40% of new executives are no longer with the company. With our onboarding program, we’ve lowered that to 10%.

The shrinking pool of talent is becoming one of the top concerns of executives, according to the most recent survey of business leaders worldwide.

Comparative data gathered by the annual survey shows that talent acquisition has jumped from sixth place to third among the challenges facing an organization today. The retention of employees is also listed as the primary strategy in maximizing employee value.

These findings emerge from the annual survey of business leaders in 40 countries by the Cornerstone International Group, one of the world’s largest retained search & HR consulting organizations. Survey results were announced recently at the group’s annual conference in Montreal, Canada.

“Business has been well aware of the factors creating a shortage of educated, skilled executives,” says William Guy, Chairman and CEO of Cornerstone International Group. “But for some reason, we have not been seeing a strong response to a very serious threat.

“The new survey, however, suggests that the war for talent is intensifying.”

Among other survey findings:

  •     One third of Boards of Directors surveyed feel they do not have the requisite experience represented on their Board.
  •     Despite the surge in concern for human capital, only 55% have an integrated, company-wide performance measurement program.
  •     Confidence in local economies has returned to 2008 levels but appears tentative: only 35% of those surveyed feel the economic downturn has run its course.

Two of the trends highlighted at the annual conference were increasing use of (a) Executive Coaching and (b) Executive/Employee Onboarding.

Demand for executive coaching is rising significantly. Talent recruiting remains the most frequently sought service but 70% of survey respondents now hire consultants for executive coaching. Cornerstone International Group has introduced a new coaching certification program for its members to help meet the demand.

Similarly, executive and employee onboarding is rapidly becoming a de facto process for maximizing human capital investment. Onboarding refers to a formal program, created both to familiarize the new hire with the company and also to enable him or her to add significant value to the enterprise as quickly as possible.

“Good senior executives are hard to attract, retain, and fit in,” says George Bradt, a Cornerstone member and founder of Prime Genesis, a specialist in onboarding. “After 18 months, 40% are no longer with the company. With our onboarding program, we’ve lowered that to 10%.”

Cornerstone International Group is a global organization with approximately 100 offices strategically positioned on all six primary continents. Its list of clients served includes half of the 1,000 largest global firms, including nine of the top 10 largest multi-nationals.

New memberships added to the network at the Montreal conference create additional offices in Copenhagen, Sacramento, Washington/Baltimore, Indianapolis and Cleveland
Copies of the 2011 Senior Management Opinion Survey can be reviewed and downloaded on the organization’s website at

For more information:
William Guy
Chairman and CEO
Cornerstone International Group


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Chris Allan
SWI Communications
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