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The Talent Market Is Shifting Eastward

I recently came across an interesting statistic about college graduates in the US, India and China in the Wall Street Journal. The graphic below depicts the number of students and money spent on education.

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The World Economic Forum estimates that 81% of U.S. engineering graduates are immediately “employable,” while only 25% of Indian graduates and 10% of Chinese graduates are equally well prepared for jobs.

If we apply the same World Economic Forum percentage to all college graduates, that makes 8.3 million Chinese and 16.2 million Indian graduates ready to start a job and perform in a satisfactory manner.

That is a total of 24.5 million employable college graduates compared to about 23 million employable US college graduates. This does not include eligible graduates from other countries.

This info is going to be very interesting for HR Executives and business leaders looking to grow their business.

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  • Hi Prashanth, Interesting statistics. Few years back, SIngapore used to advertise that easy availability of top talent makes them an attractive investment destination. War for talent is real and critical for economic success.

    • Venki, Yes. My cousin brother goes to school in Singapore. He told me about the National Talent Management programs they have. Fascinating.

  • Hi Prashanth,

    Another interesting blog. I like the variety of your blogging content.

    These stats just goes to show that organizations need to have robust hiring and talent processes to ensure that they spot the best talent and don't end up with the "duds".

    Best regards,


    • Thanks Luke. One of my responsibilities is to look at the next 10 years for people management. So I try to look beyond today's hot topics.

  • Prashanth,

    Interesting perspective on the talent war.  Usually we think about it quite either geographically close or close in skills (i.e. competing companies).  However this adds an angle that says major companies looking to set up a significant investment could make a decision on even which country they choose to invest in.

    I know this type of thing goes on, for example certain areas of the UK have reputations for certain skills e.g. Cambridge for research, Northampton for shoe making (to give 2 very different examples).  But the data you highlighted puts some measure on this.  The only other data of this type I've ever seen is was about % of types of companies in certain areas.

    Also interesting that your data is about graduates - raw talent that companies would be looking to tap into and develop to suit their business needs.


    • Stephen, Based on my research, I believe that demographics, technology and geography are the three major factors that are going to affect people management in the coming decades. Because people are going to be the most important factor in business, in the coming decades, the three factors that I outlined above are the main ones going to affect businesses as well. My colleagues Enric Gili Fort and I are working to understand and articulate these trends to our customers. I will share more in the near future.

      • Hi Prashanth,

        One of the things I mentioned in a recent SAP Expert webinar I did on Talent Management was the trends of the "iPhone" generation being much more mobile and much less loyal than before - this makes geography less of an issue, especially with the global rise of English as the international language of communication. This is something I guess that you're aware of and this will certainly have an impact (as it is now) on where talent moves and where companies invest (as Stephen points out).

        Best regards,