By Dean Whittaker

Three of the presenters at the recent CoreNet Conference in Atlanta used the term “The Talent Wars” to refer to the struggle companies are beginning to feel in meeting their staffing needs. Finding, Getting and Keeping Talent was the theme of the conference.

Rebecca Ryan, CEO of Next Generation Consulting, spoke about the indices her firm uses to consult with companies and communities as they engage in their effort to attract and keep talent. The seven indices are:

  • Vitality – how alive is the place with people getting out & about?
  • Earning – what are the occupational options?
  • Learning – what are the educational opportunities of all kinds?
  • Social Capital – how inclusive is the community of all talent?
  • Cost of Life Style – can one afford to live here?
  • After Hours – what is there to do after work?
  • Around Town – how easy is it to get around in the community?

She spoke of the “drivers of engagement,” which included a healthy life/work balance, reward commensurate with contribution, the opportunity to learn and grow, the chance to work on cool projects, being connected to something bigger than ourselves, and operating in a trusting environment.

Her highly acclaimed book, Live First, Work Second, can be found at

Daniel Pink, author of A Whole New Mind, told the audience that right brain skills including design, empathy, symphony, story telling,  passion and meaning will be needed along with our traditional left brain’s analytic, logical, sequential talents if we are to be relevant in a world in which Asia, automation, and abundance are changing the rules of the game.

Dr. David K. Foot shared his insight into the changing demographic and its economic impact. His book is Boom, Bust & Echo: Profiting from the Demographic Shift in the 21st Century with more articles at

An outstanding article on workspace issues relevant to attracting and keeping talent can be found at .

The talent wars have just begun and will continue to escalate, argues an article titled “Danes Face Slowdown Due to Lack of Workers”that appeared in the October 26 issue of the Financial Times. Robert Anderson reports that Denmark’s economy, which has been outpacing most of Western Europe’s in the past two years, is running out of workers as the unemployment rate hits the lowest level in 33 years. Companies are considering expanding abroad in order to be able to fulfill their contracts or curbing production with 75,000 positions going vacant. Back in the States, Gillette, Wyoming, continues in its effort to recruit employees for its booming energy industry with job fairs in Michigan.