Planning for Uncertainty


Employers have historically struggled to plan for recruitment and retention during periods of uncertainty

From the rise of robots, globalization and mass migration to the surprising Brexit vote, U.S. election and wider geopolitical uncertainty, the Human Age has arrived. The macroeconomic forces ManpowerGroup identified a decade ago — shifting demographics, greater individual choice, client sophistication, technological revolution — and their structural impacts are evident as predicted. As these forces continue to take hold and technological disruption and political changes continue, we can be certain that uncertainty lies ahead.


For any organization, talent is a greatest asset but also a significant variable risk. Understanding the landscape of talent availability, planning for variation in demand and developing a framework that accounts for large-scale change and the impact of unexpected circumstances is key to remaining resilient and ensuring competitiveness and growth in a slow growth environment.


Future Proofing Business

While the economic outlook ahead may seem more positive, the geopolitical one is less certain. Elections this year, particularly in Europe, may bring more uncertainty. While each geopolitical event from the UK Brexit vote to the U.S. election is an exceptional circumstance, the challenges presented to employers are not unique. Workforce planning tends to focus on known, rather than unknown, circumstances. This may work well for a period of time, but what happens when political upheaval affects resources? Or demographic shifts impact talent pools? If one variable changes, workforce plans can be fundamentally altered overnight. By anticipating potential change and planning for uncertainty, employers can develop a flexible, yet resilient, workforce strategy to future-proof their businesses.

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