The Economics of Talent

Talent, the unusual innate ability, is at stake in the today’s hyper-competitive world. Talent is often substitutable with natural gift, but we are wondering in today’s age, that talent is also measurable in terms of money and performance, so, that means, talent may be priceless without right opportunities and prospects. Napoleon Bonaparte rightly said that ‘ability is of little account without opportunity’. With the bunch of talents, our corporate world is developing “Talent Intelligence” like “Business Intelligence”. As ‘business intelligence’ foresights into business arena by capturing, extracting and analyzing key data to drive growth and success, ‘talent intelligence’ insights on key workforce data to generate better performance and improved decision-making. But, why is today’s talent at stake??


Let’s focus on the demand supply theory of talent. Now we have modern education system and improved technology. Science has done abundance progress that we made everything possible of past impossibilities. But, we mankind what we do, we get two results – one is the instant result; on the other hand, spillover effect of the action which we can better say ‘future outcome of present action’ (FOPA). So, we are talking about human resources or human talent in economic sense. Today our youngsters are questioning the value of education and value of system. If our education system could not help our youngsters or talents to find a job, if it cannot help an educated nerd who sacrificed his/her youth, spending sleepless nights, preparing for the brainstorming arguments and scoring highest marks in the competition, should we not question about the value and structure of our education? Should our policy makers not responsible? That’s why ‘to find a job is a job’ (the process of job hunting). The most wondering thing is our talented nerds are even not able to get a free job (internship/traineeship) with 98% marks; the situation is that there is no job in the market, and even recruiting an intern is a cost to the company. We must have to agree that our education is degrading or losing its luster, and our youths deplore with both the cost and quality of the education. There is something wrong in our whole shebang.  After all, who is the responsible behind this economic crisis? Is it our diluted system, or our misdirected policy makers, or our democracy deficit, or are we all collectively responsible? With my wide travelling across Europe, I met many youngsters but very few are happy. They suddenly complained about the system, political process and policy makers. It is no surprise that university and college degree holders, even MBAs, are compelled to serve as waiters to survive in this hopeless world that made them orphans. Many master graduates are continuing PhD program to escape being unemployed, but this doctoral program is what the Economist magazine equates as ‘the disposable academic’. If education, instead of adding value, makes our life imbalance and worthless, so, is it the value of our education and is it the value of our system? Students are dreamers and they dream to have a good job, good pay and perks, a beautiful bungalow, and a lovely wife. But, they never thought their dreams will never turn into dreams.

Recently, I was reading a beautiful article of Peter Coy ‘The Youth Unemployment Bomb’ focusing on what our jobless and talented youths are doing, some of them became miscreants and others became introverts, and I term it as ‘talent at war’.

In Tunisia, the young people who helped bring down a dictator are called hittistes—French-Arabic slang for those who lean against the wall. Their counterparts in Egypt, who on Feb. 1 forced President Hosni Mubarak to say he won’t seek reelection, are the shabab atileen, unemployed youths. The hittistes and shabab have brothers and sisters across the globe. In Britain, they are NEETs—”not in education, employment, or training.” In Japan, they arefreeters: an amalgam of the English word freelance and the German word Arbeiter, or worker. Spaniards call the mmileuristas, meaning they earn no more than 1,000 euros a month. In the U.S., they’re “boomerang” kids who move back home after college because they can’t find work. Even fast-growing China, where labor shortages are more common than surpluses, has its “ant tribe”—recent college graduates who crowd together in cheap flats on the fringes of big cities because they can’t find well-paying work.  (Source: Business Week, Feb 2, 2011)

So, today unemployment rate is thrice or 4 times or even more compared to the previous record. Developing countries are continuously facing the brain-drain syndrome, and it is one of the reasons behind their long stagnant economy.  Today most of our youths admit that the education system has been debased that couldn’t help them to be independent, and another interesting thing is that people even with lower education are living a simple and better life and are working in any kind of jobs, but our higher educated talents are not able to work or even they are interested to work at lower position but not allowed. It seems higher education is unnecessary and degrees are epidemics that cannot ensure a happy and successful life. The question today is – what is cost of our talent waste as it is strongly correlated to our happiness and personal growth as well?

The unemployment disaster has completely wasted our talents and made us orphan. The stark number of unemployment is a surprise and panic as well. A Recent statistical anatomy reveals Spain’s youth unemployment is nearly 50%, whereas United Sates has 23% youth unemployment and United Kingdom is closed to 22% jobless youths. One day, there was time the world economy was facing talent crunch, but today it is completely opposite, i.e., useless talent pool. How can our youths survive and live a better life being unemployed? But it is predictable that if this situation continues to a decade, the talent crunch will make a reverse path to our well-developed techno-science economy. Finally, whether it is Italy or USA, Greece or Ireland, this jobless talent pool will have an adverse effect on our economy not for one or two years but for decades and by society at large.


One thought on “The Economics of Talent

  1. Its like you read my mind! You appear to know a lot approximately this, like you wrote the book in it or something. I believe that you can do with some percent to force the message house a bit, however instead of that, that is wonderful blog. An excellent read. I’ll definitely be back.

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