Business Leaders Counting on Talent

Business leaders around the world see high-performing employees as their best competitive weapon in a gloomy environment. This was among the key findings of a worldwide senior management opinion survey recently released by Cornerstone International Group.

Fewer than one-third of respondents in 44 countries expect the global economy to improve over the balance of the year. Challenges to growth in this environment are overwhelmingly associated with attracting and keeping top talent: three of the top four issues identified are Performance Excellence (92%), Talent Acquisition (87%), and Employee Compensation (75%).

“In one respect it’s no surprise,” said William Guy, Chairman and CEO of Cornerstone International Group. “Companies are always seeking to get the maximum return from their payroll. More important, though, there’s a growing awareness that top performers, especially at the senior levels, are a competitive benefit that is not easy for another company to replicate.”

“We’re seeing this in the increased efforts being spent to search out the best people and get them on board”

Cornerstone International Group is one of the world’s largest HR consulting organizations, made up of selected members in over 40 countries. The Group portfolio includes half of the 1,000 largest global firms, including nine of the top 10 largest multi-nationals.

In other findings, the survey revealed a sharp rise in the growth of out-of-office employees. This year, 28% of companies expect more home-based workers compared with 10% in 2005, when the last survey was taken.

Reflecting growing global concerns, the concepts of sustainability and responsible growth are well entrenched. Sustainability is incorporated in both strategy and operations to a “strong” degree by 46% of firms and to a “moderate” degree by 34%. It is a factor in supplier selection for 79% of the respondents.

Despite pessimism regarding the immediate business outlook, only 20% of firms are likely to reduce head count this year. More than two-thirds will actually add employees, a significantly higher figure than the 44% of three years ago.

Further details and copies of the 2008 Senior Management Opinion Survey can be found on the organization’s website at

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