Employers Seek 'The Vital Few' in Times of Economic Recovery

by Vault Education Editors | January 11, 2011

  • My Vault

Last week, I wrote about this year's recruiting forecast, how with slow recovery firms will battle for elite talent, what Italian economist and polymath Vilfredo Pareto called "the vital few."

From The Economist:

In the private sector things could hardly be more different. The world’s best companies struggle relentlessly to find and keep the vital few. They offer them fat pay packets, extra training, powerful mentors and more challenging assignments. If anything, businesses are becoming more obsessed with ability.

This is partly cyclical. Deloitte and other consultancies have noticed that as the economy begins to recover, companies are trying harder to nurture raw talent, or to poach it from their rivals. When new opportunities arise, they hope to have the brainpower to seize them. The acceleration of the tussle for talent is also structural, however. Private-equity firms rely heavily on a few stars. High-tech firms, for all their sartorial egalitarianism, are ruthless about recruiting the brightest. Firms in emerging markets are desperate to find high-flyers—the younger the better—who can cope with rapid growth and fast-changing environments.

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