Eastern Promise

The balance of economic power has been shifting across the globe for some time, East in the direction of India and China and to South America with the rising global force that is Brazil.  To date this has had minimal impact on talent pools in the G7, the traditional powerhouses of the global economy.  Could this be about to change?

China recently released its National Outline for Medium and Long Term Talent Development (2010 – 2020).  In the document, talent refers to those with “certain professional knowledge or special skills, who are able to do “creative” work and make a contribution to society”.

The document highlights just how China intends to reform and develop its human capital over the next 10 years and addresses how it proposes to evaluate and manage talent across all spectrums of Chinese society.  Also highlighted are the key areas for investment and where the need for talent is most keenly felt.  In the next 10 years China needs more than 5 million individuals in the following areas;

Equipment Manufacturing



New Materials

Aeronautics and Astronautics


Finance and Accounting

International Business

Environmental Protection

Energy Resources

Agriculture Technology

Modern Traffic and Transportation

It will also need a further 7 million professionals in;


Political Science and Law

Medicine and Health

Publicity and Cultural Information

Disaster Prevention

In order to facilitate this there will be a massive focus on education.  More than 20% of the labour force is to receive higher education as the country transitions from a labour – intensive nation to one that is driven by talent.

President Hu Jintao –

“Talent is the most important resource and it is a key issue that concerns the development of the Party and country”.

The challenge for the rest of the world is how it responds to both the opportunity and threat.  Between 1978 and 2006 over 1 million Chinese Students studied overseas, more than 70% of whom did not return home.  The number of Chinese born professionals living in the US and Europe has grown to such an extent that the Chinese Economy has an enormous talent pool to tap in to from beyond its borders, as well as a huge resource of home grown talent.

This has the potential to cause huge issues for talent attraction and retention for Chinas competitors.  The talent pool has gotten ever more mobile.  The world has become a smaller, much more accessible place and long may this continue.  As a consequence opportunity is global.

Business and Political Leaders need to be thinking now about education, talent development, engagement, environment and opportunities that can be created in order that an already stretched talent pool does not become ever more barren.  Taking our talent for granted will cause much pain for future generations.


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Filed under Careers, Talent

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