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Winning the Race for Talent in Emerging Markets Case Study

Identifying the Problem of Talents in Emerging Markets

Leaders of many companies are convinced that a famous name and relatively big starting salaries are everything that talented people are looking for in the organizations. In reality, that is not right. Surely, there are still many people who do not need more.

However, growing talents of developing countries would never agree to those conditions. Such kind of people want to prove to the world that their country is able to make a difference and innovate, even at the global level, so instead of striving for high salaries they want to find opportunities for self-development and doing something special.

The Reasons for Growing Talents to Choose Emerging Markets

Why talented people tend to prefer emerging markets to well-developed? The answer is evident – emerging markets offer the opportunities that people are searching for, while others do not. However, it seems to be a paradox since developed markets are supposed to have many advantages over the developing ones; this idea lies in the terms themselves.

However, this paradox now is a reality. The statistics of emerging markets is steadily growing. That growth began in 2000, and now the tendency preserves. The analytics predict that developing markets are going to grow nearly three times faster than developed once in the nearest future (“The growing role of emerging markets” par. 2).

Indeed, such countries as China, Russia or other representatives of BRIC have better economic performance than the Euro Union members or the United States. Therefore, that is the first reason why talents are so attracted to emerging markets – they offer an opportunity to grow with the company and a unique chance to be one of the first.

The second reason would be obvious to anyone who has ever chosen between a startup and a large corporation. That is like a standard problem of different generations. Grown-ups usually forget what it is to be children or teens, forget what they have wanted and needed in that age.

The same happens between emerging and developed markets. While developed ones already have enough employees as well as a regular influx of new ones, emerging markets do their best to win them. And these efforts do not go unnoticed. However, it is better to know what exactly attracts people.

Identifying the Hypothesis: What Organizations Should Offer

One of the strategies is suggested in the article by Ready, Hill, and Conger called Winning the Race for Talent in Emerging Markets. The strategy is built on two pillars: making attractive promises, from which it is hard to refuse (to win the battle for talents), and keeping those promises (to retain talents) (1). Seems to be simple, doesn’t it?

Each of these pillars, in its turn, is built on several more. To make attractive promises, an organization should focus on three points: the brand (the reputation based on excellence), opportunities (self-development, possibility to innovate, challenging projects, and so forth), and the purpose (really worthy and needed by people). The paragraph about keeping promises the authors start with the following words.

It’s tempting to overpromise just to get new hires in the door. But failure to deliver on those promises will sour current employees on the company and ultimately hurt its appeal for potential new hires. Keeping your promises is especially crucial in emerging markets where employees can easily move to global or local companies that seem to offer greater overall rewards. (Ready, Hill, and Conger 1)

So, the most important point here is the willingness to fulfill promises. And in this regard, the company’s organizational culture plays a crucial role.

The Need for Study in the Article

In this part of the paper, it is discussed why the study conducted by Ready, Hill, and Conger is useful, who needs it, how it can be applicable to the UAE/GCC environment, and why it is appropriate for the MBA program.

Who and Why Needs the Study?

Emerging markets are steadily growing. Consequently, organizations, which operate in developing markets, are growing as well. They need new people and especially those talented ones. That is why the battle for talents between emerging markets and their organizations is fierce.

Additionally, despite the fact that developing markets have some advantages over developed ones, they still have to compete for talents with each other. So, first of all, this study is essential for companies from emerging markets that are searching for talents since it provides them with a relevant strategy. However, it has the same value for companies operating in developed markets.

One of the best characteristics of this article is that it gives numerous examples in addition to the strategy. Therefore, companies can examine and even implement them if it is possible.

For example, on the very first page, the authors told about the Standard Chartered Bank that reduced its attrition rates to retain their employees (and attract new ones) while the majority of other companies increased those (Ready, Hill, and Conger 1). That is actually a good idea, which can be implemented by every company regardless of the sphere it operates in.

How is the Study applicable to UAE/GCC environment?

In 2015, Morningstar Indexes, considering a “significant improvements in UAE in recent years”, decided to classify this country as an emerging market (2).

This status means that since now the UAE has to compete for talents at this level. As for GCC environment, the study is applicable since “emerging-market countries provide significant opportunities” for it, particularly those can improve a connection with Asian countries (27). Additionally, many talented people in these territories want to find decent job opportunities, do something worthy and valuable.

Why is the Study Appropriate for the MBA Program?

This work is appropriate for the MBA program as far as it encompasses a significant and urgent topic, which has great practical value, and the results that can be used by numerous organizations. This study also cost the authors huge efforts and lots of time. The details in this regard can be found in the following paragraph (Ready, Hill, and Conger 2).

Methodology of the Study

As the authors of the article state, “All three of us have spent decades studying talent management and leadership development, but this war for talent is like nothing we’ve ever seen before” (Ready, Hill, and Conger 2). To examine the concept, they have spent eight months, involved “dozens of executives”, and collected information from twenty different global companies (Ready, Hill, and Conger 2).

The research method that the authors have chosen is qualitative. The primary method used for the data collection is an in-person interview. The authors interviewed dozens of CEO, managers, and supervisors. In this particular situation, the qualitative research is probably the best possible option since details are imperative.

Firstly, because the problem investigated in the article is subtle. Secondly, because the quantitative research would not provide many examples of an implementation of the theory, and those are essential as it has already been concluded above.

Choosing between various methods of data collection, which are observations, in-person interviews, focus groups, and action research, the authors have done a right chose (“Methods of collecting qualitative data” par. 4). An interview is the only possible way that lets people examine an issue from the inside and make conclusions about the practice, not theory. In comparison with observations or focus groups, interviews give much more information, including particular details, which are not available in any other way.

As a result, the authors’ analysis has revealed four factors that are crucial to the organization in the battle for talents. Those are the company’s brand, opportunities, purpose, and culture.

Critique of the Article

The work that the authors of the article have done is praiseworthy and priceless. However, particular drawbacks of their theory still can be found. They should not be considered as the deficiencies of the authors’ work since they are primarily caused by the disadvantages of emerging markets as such.

Unstable Environment

Several years ago, both emerging and developed markets survived a serious economic downturn. Even some well-developed markets were harmed. For emerging ones, such kind of crises is always destroying. As Michaelson ironically notices, “good business behavior is at risk in developing markets because, well, the markets… are developing” (238).

Indeed, such markets do have high economic performance, and they are weak in front of global crises and economic recessions. To minimize adverse effects of those, companies in emerging markets should try to maintain the demand for their products, retain valuable employees and find some kind of “sustainable competitive advantage”, which will benefit them during bad times (Liu 2824). Naturally, for each company, those advantages will be different.

Cultural Challenge

The second significant challenge is cultural. Hiring people of various nationalities and cultures is fraught with numerous problems. Among those are both minor, such as simple misunderstandings, and serious ones, based on ethnocentrism or prejudice. To avoid this, organizations should make every effort.

Otherwise, all advantages of a diverse workforce will be wiped out. At this point, strong ethical leaders are imperative. They can address the cultural issue in the best way, implementing various interventions, conducting workshops, giving particular social tasks to their followers, and so on.

Besides, to be sure that both employees and managers are aware of all nuances of working with a variety of cultures, organizations should establish formal written policies in this regard. That is how people will know that any discrimination or ethnocentrism in the workplace will not go unpunished.

Other Barriers

Two issues mentioned above are probably the most significant ones and should be addressed as a matter of urgency. Nevertheless, there are also many others, and linguistic one goes first on the list. A variety of languages is not only an advantage on a global scale but also a barrier. Hiring people, whose first language differs from English and who do not speak English well enough, organizations face difficulties associated with the communication within the group.

To overcome this challenge, they should hire more bilingual employees and provide training courses to improve employees’ language skills. Another problem is a territorial one. When some of the employees work remotely, and face-to-face communication is impossible, people’s relations and trust can worsen.

Another significant barrier is caused by different time zones, and it makes communication even more complicated. The advancement of technologies can also become a problem since some countries are developing better than others in this regard. Besides, cities usually have more opportunities and connections than villages.

This list can be greatly expanded. Considering problems and limitations of emerging markets as such, we can make conclusions about the direction of future studies in this field. Since every issue mentioned above is important, all of them should be sooner or later addresses in research.

Summary and Conclusion

For many decades, the relationships between emerging and developed markets have been mainly the same. The West was the strongest, and the members of the Euro Union and the United States literally set the direction for everybody. Presently, the situation is changing. Economic indicators of emerging markets are steadily growing. In 2000, they could account for 37 percent of global GDP, in 2005, this number reached the point of 50 percent, and the growing tendency preserves (“The growing role of emerging markets” par. 1).

This rapid and relatively stable growth attracts talented people from developing countries since it provides them with an opportunity to grow as well. They are able to be one of the first, innovate, realize their ambitions, and prove to the world that their country can make a difference.

These people want something more than just a big salary and a famous brand, and an awareness of their interests can help to win the race for talent in emerging markets. Ready, Hill, and Conger give their hypothesis of what such people need.

To prove their point of view, they have spent eight months for the qualitative research, which is described in the article, and “decades studying talent management and leadership development” (Ready, Hill, and Conger 2). The information was gathered mainly through interviews with CEOs, managers, and supervisors. Twenty different global companies took part in the research.

According to Ready, Hill, and Conger, there are two pillars, on which winning the race for talents depends on (2). Those are making attractive promises and actually fulfilling them (Ready, Hill, and Conger 2). The first one is imperative to find new talents and make them choose your company, and the second is needed to retain those talents after all. Three points characterize attractive promises. The first one is a brand of a company, which should be famous for the excellence and advancement.

The second is built on the opportunities – the opportunities for growth, self-development, working on challenging and interesting tasks, and so on. Finally, the third one is the purpose. An organization should have a worthy purpose, which people would need. Since it is always “tempting to overpromise just to get new hires in the door”, to be sure that the promises will be fulfilled, a company should have an adequate culture (Ready, Hill, and Conger 1).

This theory is really useful because, in addition to theoretical knowledge, it provides examples of strategies of particular organizations and explains how those have worked. Since personal interviews have been chosen as a data collection method, the article contains many priceless details, which would be impossible to gather through any other research methods or tools.

Admittedly, the strategy suggested in the article has its particular drawbacks but those exist in view of the concept of emerging markets as such, there is no fault of the authors in that. Among such drawbacks, the most significant are the cultural challenge and an unstable environment, in which developing markets operate. Additionally, there are also such barriers as linguistic, territorial, technological, and others. All of them should be considered as challenges and addressed in future studies.

Works Cited

Liu, Yang. “Sustainable competitive advantage in turbulent business environments.” International Journal of Production Research 51.10 (2013): 2821–2841. Print.

Methods of collecting qualitative data n.d. Web.

Michaelson, Christopher. “Revisiting the global business ethics question.” Business Ethics Quarterly 20.2 (2010): 237-251. Print.

2014, Morningstar Indexes Market Classification Results: UAE to be Classified as an Emerging Market. Web.

Ready, Douglas, Linda A. Hill, and Jay A. Conger. “Winning the Race for Talent in Emerging Markets.” Harvard Business Review 11 (2008): 1-10. Web.

2014. Web.

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IvyPanda. (2019, August 26). Winning the Race for Talent in Emerging Markets. Retrieved from https://ivypanda.com/essays/winning-the-race-for-talent-in-emerging-markets-2/

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"Winning the Race for Talent in Emerging Markets." IvyPanda, 26 Aug. 2019, ivypanda.com/essays/winning-the-race-for-talent-in-emerging-markets-2/.

1. IvyPanda. "Winning the Race for Talent in Emerging Markets." August 26, 2019. https://ivypanda.com/essays/winning-the-race-for-talent-in-emerging-markets-2/.


IvyPanda. "Winning the Race for Talent in Emerging Markets." August 26, 2019. https://ivypanda.com/essays/winning-the-race-for-talent-in-emerging-markets-2/.


IvyPanda. 2019. "Winning the Race for Talent in Emerging Markets." August 26, 2019. https://ivypanda.com/essays/winning-the-race-for-talent-in-emerging-markets-2/.


IvyPanda. (2019) 'Winning the Race for Talent in Emerging Markets'. 26 August.

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