Evaluating Global Market Dynamics for Workforce Planning

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In an interview with Raleen Gagnon, Global Director of Market Intelligence at TAPFIN, we discussed the importance of certain market trends and global considerations that should be evaluated in the assessment of global workforce needs.

1. Why should an employer actively monitor or track workforce conditions in order to validate or build their workforce strategy?

Raleen Gagnon: Regardless of internal mandates, or capacity requirements, an organization cannot employ workers in a bubble without regard for the market they are hiring in. Economic shifts, demographic trends, competitive activity, and even cultural waves can affect the location, quality, and cost of skilled workers. The passing of new regulations can limit or expand an organization’s access to certain types of labor. Likewise, the economic conditions of a particular metro market may impact migration habits, competitive direction, and the viability of workforce engagement in the short or long term.

2. Is it more important to consider a current view of the market, as opposed to a historical perspective or forecast?

Raleen: All three are important, although not necessarily of the same importance to every employer. Forecasting market conditions can be instrumental in knowing where the current workforce is most advantageous and sustainable. Considerations such as how long workers can be engaged, what the total cost of engagement is, what is required to be in compliance with local regulations, and how competitive shifts will impact the market opportunity an organization is considering investing in will influence how these decisions should be reached. Likewise, assessing where, when, and to what extent competitors are targeting similar skills in the same metro market can be a prime indicator of future hiring ability or difficulty.

3. How often should employers assess and research market conditions to ensure the right workforce strategies are in place?

Raleen: The most common response to this question is quarterly. But just because everyone says that, doesn’t mean it is correct. Ideally, a real-time view through ongoing monitoring provides the most advantageous view of market conditions to enable an employer to maintain a competitive hiring advantage as trends in availability and skills shift in one capacity or another. But realistically, it is pretty difficult for most organizations to maintain that level of rigor across their global business. While many organizations invest heavily into the ability to establish and maintain quarterly or monthly reviews of key market conditions, annual market reviews remain the most common practice.

One way that an employer can augment this less than accurate view of the global landscape is to leverage their partners and vendors and get access to any market insights they might collect and make available. The more data that can be reviewed and assessed during the workforce planning process, the more challenges that can be identified and avoided.

4. What are some reliable sources to recommend to employers to get data on the workforce conditions?

Raleen: Some of the most reliable forms of information regarding the market conditions are publicly available – either through government agencies such as the local ministries of labor, or the Bureau of Labor Statistics. But beyond that are an organization’s existing supply chains – staffing suppliers, legal counsel, other agencies supporting global workforce process, etc., can provide valuable insight into local market trends and statistics. While country specific databases and industry dedicated resources may have the most accurate information available at any given time, their geographic scope or broader perspective may be limited.

For a more general sense of national statistics or comparisons of multiple countries across the globe, some of the more comprehensive resources include the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the International Labor Organization, NationMaster, and the World Data Bank. While not all are updated as frequently as others, and may not have the more specific skills analysis that an organization is seeking – each can provide some additional context to the local market conditions and variables that might impact the effectiveness of local hiring activity.

As the Director of Global Intelligence and Strategy, Raleen manages all research; market demand, and global trend analysis to develop and support actionable insight for country-specific go-to-market planning. In this role, she is responsible for the delivery of TAPFIN’s Quarterly Market Report, the development of the Global Contingent Workforce Index, and other market intelligence solutions. Prior to this, Raleen was the Director of Strategic Marketing at Monster Worldwide, where she collaborated with sales leadership to develop strategic programs and initiatives for the Staffing Industry, Global Sales, and Public Sector.

Her career in corporate strategy has been built on the foundation of over a decade in competitive intelligence, managing her own business, CI Consulting, and as a Research Director at Fuld and Company. She has overseen and delivered the research and analysis to identify emerging markets, ranked and validated acquisition targets, provided competitive pipeline and organizational benchmarking studies, and conducted comprehensive competitive profiling and monitoring studies.

Raleen has a Marketing degree from Bentley University and teaches certification courses for the Academy of Competitive Intelligence in Cambridge, Miami, and London.