New still beats old in battle for top talent

Old economy
companies still face an uphill battle recruiting high-fliers, despite the fall
in high-tech stocks in recent months, delegates were told at a recent
international HR conference in London.

Tom Brown,
vice-president human resources at Australian oil and mining giant BHP, said
share options were vastly more attractive in technology firms than mineral
companies. Despite recent stock market falls, many of these share options have
risen nearly 200 per cent in the past two years, compared with about 10 per
cent in minerals sector.

“The war
for talent has increased dramatically,” he said. “It is a tremendous threat to
us.”

He said the
company’s response is strategic. “The strategy is to go mega in the minerals
world, to make ourselves so big that we cannot be ignored.” In a global
economy, companies have appeal only if they are large or are respected niche
players; there is no middle ground.

BHP has
formed an alliance with Sony, ABB, Boeing and Nokia to together develop
high-potential talent. “This will give the ability to mix with different
companies, different cultures and provide leadership development. It is a
different approach and one which holds a lot of promise.”

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