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July, 2007

Harnessing the Global N-Gen Talent Pool


by Deepak Ramachandran and Paul Artiuch

The Story in Brief


Western companies face an imminent and severe talent shortage. Baby Boomers are reaching retirement age and
universities aren’t turning out a sufficient number of graduates, particularly in science and engineering, to replace
them. Companies need to expand their recruiting efforts to include qualified young workers in the world’s rising
economies. The challenge is especially steep for knowledge workers.
The good news is: the world’s rising economies represent an unprecedented source of young labor. N-Geners
across the world share many attributes which make them the world’s largest, best-qualified labor pool ever.
However, a closer look at the details of and distinctions between these labor markets is required: local variations
can surprise and stymie the inexperienced global manager.
This paper examines the eight global N-Gen norms in the four main rising-economy regions (India, China,
Latin America, and Eastern Europe), and identifies how their unique local economic, demographic and cultural
contexts are expressed in changed employee expectations. Building on New Paradigm’s Talent Relationship
Management (TRM) concept, the paper profiles successful N-Gen TRM techniques in each rising economy.
Moving beyond mere “best practices,” we also propose some cutting-edge principles that promise to keep the best
employers ahead of the game, attracting tomorrow’s talent to secure a stronger future today.

Table of Contents
24 Latin America
1 Summary of Findings
Latin America’s N-Gen Norms
2 Wanted: A New Global Workforce Success N-Ployment strategies
4 Enter the Global N-Gen
28 Beyond Best Practice: Global Talent
Global N-Gen norms Relationship Management
Expression of norms differs around the world Initiate
7 India Engage and evolve
India’s N-Gen norms
32 Appendix 1: Country Demographics
Successful N-Ployment strategies
37 Appendix 2: Select Results from New
14 China Paradigm’s Global Survey
China’s N-Gen norms
Successful N-Ployment strategies
20 Russia and Central Europe
Russia and Central Europe’s N-Gen norms
Successful N-Ployment strategies

© 2007 New Paradigm Learning Corporation


Harnessing the Global N-Gen Talent Pool 1

Summary of Findings
FOR THIS PAPER, WE CONDUCTED both quantitative primary research, as well as selected
interviews with N-Geners and employers in each rising economy. This research is summarized in a
separate section for each major region (India, China, Russia and Central Europe, and Latin America),
including an explanation of regional norms and best practices in employment.
One important finding is that N-Gen norms, while important across the globe, find distinctive
expression based on regional circumstances. For instance:
• Freedom: In North America, freedom in employment usually means N-Geners want to set their
own hours, and work from home when they can. By contrast, in rising economies, it usually means
that N-Geners feel free to change employers quickly and easily. This, of course, poses a challenge
to employers, especially since N-Geners in India and China can often almost double their salary just
after completing initial training at a multinational organization.
• Innovation: Whereas North American N-Geners see innovation as the province of small start-ups,
rising-economy N-Geners (except in Russia) see innovation as done better by multinationals.
Hence, this can be one of multinationals’ strongest attractors for N-Gen talent.
Based on these and other regional differences, we highlight certain recommendations that apply to
multinationals, no matter where they choose to find their N-Gen staff:
• Find out why pay matters. In every economy, pay is either the most or second-most important
aspect of a job for N-Geners. Still, why pay matters can teach employers a lot. For instance, in India
and China, N-Geners often support extended family; in these situations, employers can gain loyalty
by offering benefits to family members—or locating workplaces near N-Geners’ often rural
parents.
• Focus on second- and third-tier cities and schools, and train intensively. By reaching beyond
the usual first-tier targets, employers not only gain access to a much larger talent pool, they also
often recruit a more loyal employee base as well. Some strategies towards this end include::
» Focus recruiting more on second-tier cities than second-tier schools. In many countries, the
second-tier cities hide a treasure trove of talent, kept there simply by family ties and a
reluctance to move far from home. By contrast, the second-tier schools in big cities likely
contain many students who were rejected from their first tier counterparts.
» Locate offices in second-tier cities. Many employees, male and female alike, seek to move
close to home when having children, for family support. Across most countries, this often
means moving back to second-tier cities or the countryside. Employers who move with these
N-Geners stand an opportunity to keep their staff, often at very competitive wages. Even the
most attractive employers such as India’s Infosys are coming to this conclusion.
» Pay attention to management training, especially around performance evaluation and career
paths. Most fast-growing companies in the rising economies have well-developed, often
intensive initial training programs, lasting up to 9 months, full-time. But almost all seem to
have underdeveloped management training programs. This leaves new employees confused and
dissatisfied with the performance evaluation and career path feedback they get from managers
only 3-5 years their senior.
• Engage N-Geners throughout the talent relationship cycle. In another New Paradigm research
paper, “Attracting and Engaging the N-Gen Employee,”1 we highlight a number of ways to involve

© 2007 New Paradigm Learning Corporation


Harnessing the Global N-Gen Talent Pool 2

N-Geners more actively throughout the talent relationship management lifecycle. In this paper, we
point out corollaries and extensions to that thinking that pertain especially to rising economies. Our
suggestions include:
» Gear recruiting communications more through mobile phones and SMS than through the
traditional Internet, since that’s where rising-economy N-Geners traditionally access the Web.
» Create a fast recruiting cycle, because N-Geners in rising economies often accept more than one
job. Focus on getting them on-site and engaged in work as quickly as possible—even as early as
the day after an offer is extended. (See the sidebar on the Shenzhen General Talents Market.)
» Automate key parts of the recruiting process, because rising-economy employers often need to
hire daunting numbers of staff each year just to keep pace with attrition, let alone growth. One
area ripe for automation is existing-employee referrals and references: ask job applicants to
name one or two current employees of your company as references (as part of their online job
application) and automate the process by which those employees are asked for their opinions
about the applicant.
» Pave the way for women, especially. In all rising economies, and particularly in India and
China, women are a highly-valued but underserved talent pool. Few employers in rising
economies take the time or effort to truly cater their employment proposition towards the needs
of women (especially young mothers), but the benefits that await leaders in this area are
substantial.

Wanted: A New Global Workforce


Western companies are bracing themselves for a much more competitive job market. A large number of
their employees are middle-aged Baby Boomers—individuals born between 1949 and 1967. The oldest
Boomers are starting to retire. RHR International, an executive development consulting firm, estimates
that America’s 500 biggest companies will see half their senior managers retire in the next 5 years or so.2
Companies will have a hard time replacing them, never mind hiring the new recruits necessary for
corporate growth.

Figure 1: The Talent Shortage

Talent Shortages in Organizations (%)

Growth markets 83%

Specialised skills 82%

Business leaders 63%

Across the organisation 62%

60% 65% 70% 75% 80% 85%

Source: Corporate Executive Board, Corporate Leadership Council

© 2007 New Paradigm Learning Corporation


Harnessing the Global N-Gen Talent Pool 3

Companies already feel the crunch in recruiting new talent (Figure 1). Many senior managers are kept
awake at night by the large number of people they need to hire each year just to maintain their current
complement or meet modest growth objectives.3
To complicate matters, jobs in the developed world are shifting to knowledge-based work. The
Economist calculates that knowledge work makes up 40 percent of American jobs and accounts for 70
percent of job growth since 1998.4 Baruch Lev, a professor of accounting at New York University, argues
that “intangible assets”—ranging from a skilled workforce to patents to know-how—account for more
than half of the market capitalization of public companies.5 Accenture calculates that intangible assets
have shot up from comprising 20 percent of the value of companies in the S&P 500 in 1980 to around 70
percent today.6
But while the demand for knowledge workers grows, the domestic supply is shrinking. Enrolment in
science and technology faculties is declining in the U.S. and other western countries.7 The upshot is that
companies increasingly conclude that it makes more sense to locate new research facilities in countries
where there is a larger supply of science and technology graduates. As Figure 2 shows, this usually means
opening offices in China or India.
A survey of 200 multinationals indicated that companies considering locating new research facilities
in:

Figure 2: Planned Location of New R&D Facilities

70 68
Number of Respondents (n=209)

Increase
60
Decrease
50
43
40 35

30
22
20 18
15
13
10 8
5
1 0 0
0
United States Western Former China India Other
Europe Soviet bloc
8
Source: www.kauffman.org

Any job that is not confined to a particular location has the potential to be performed anywhere in the
world (i.e., globally resourced). If the job activities do not require physical proximity, local knowledge, or
complex interactions with colleagues, then location is immaterial. Such jobs may be performed wherever
a company deems most attractive. A company may choose to have a particular “location insensitive” job
performed in the demand market (that is, in the market in which the resulting output is sold), in a border
zone (nearshore), or remotely (offshore).
Not all location-insensitive jobs will move offshore, but many will—it’s estimated that by 2008, 11
percent or 1.46 billion of worldwide service jobs could be performed remotely. Engineering jobs are best

© 2007 New Paradigm Learning Corporation


Harnessing the Global N-Gen Talent Pool 4

suited to relocation. Sectors least likely to be offshored are retail and healthcare, while packaged software
and IT services are highly susceptible to offshoring.9
As Figure 2 shows, China and India rank first and second with multinationals considering locations
for new research facilities. A close examination of the numbers explainswhy. There are around 390
million potential workers in low-wage countries vs. 180 million in high-wage countries.10 For example,
India generates 2.5 million university graduates annually, of which 400,000 are engineers and 200,000 are
IT professionals. Most of these graduates speak English. They cost 12 percent of what an American
graduate would cost to hire, and work an average of 450 more hours per year.11
But at the moment less than 20 percent of these graduates are truly credible candidates. Anita Tang, a
young HR consultant in Hong Kong, points out: “While these emerging markets are pumping out tens of
thousands of graduates, only a small percentage of them are suitable for working at multinational
corporations which have a higher standard. You’ll see that the schools in China and India are very
focussed on the theories and textbook learning.”12
Competition for these qualified candidates is fierce. Most rising economies do not share Americans’
passion for mobility. Only a small proportion of N-Geners grow up in the major cities that multinationals
favor. The others are often prepared to move to those cities only for a limited period in their lifecycle
(e.g., after school and before they want to have children). After that point, men and women alike often
prefer to move back closer to home. In addition, the talent demands of the rising domestic economies are
voracious. Multinationals are still “the employers of choice” in most rising economies, but that advantage
is already diminishing as the best individuals and companies become more confident of their world-class
(and world-changing) status.

Enter the Global N-Gen


The global N-Gen is the largest generation in history. In North America, the N-Gen is often called the
Baby Boom “echo” because it is just as loud as the original “boom”. Both generations number
approximately 93 million. In Japan, the N-Gen is smaller than the Boom—27 million compared to 34
million respectively. But in many of the rising economies, the N-Gen far outnumbers the post-war
generation (see Appendix 1: Country Demographics). Eastern Europe is demographically similar to
Western Europe, where the size of these two generations is comparable. But China’s N-Gen outnumbers
its Boomer-age population by 80 million (32 percent of population vs. 26 percent). In India and Latin
America, the relative sizes are most different. There are almost twice as many Indian N-Geners as there
are Boomers—419 million compared to 211 million respectively (Figure 3).
Other New Paradigm reports explain how the N-Gen is unlike any generation that has come before it.
In contrast to their parents or grandparents, members of this younger generation cannot fathom a world
without digital technologies such as the Internet, CDs, DVDs, digital cameras, MP3 players, cell phones,
video games, text messaging and instant messaging. N-Geners use digital tools to spend their time
playing, communicating, and learning new ways to think. As access to these technologies increases, the
world will witness the rise of the first globally-connected generation.
Although youth culture will be global in some important respects, it will remain resolutely local in
others. Countries outside of North America have long been aware of American movies and music, but
increased travel and new digital technologies—in particular, the Internet—have exposed their young
people to an unprecedented amount of Western media and culture. Non-North Americans today have a
more complete sense of what is happening in the U.S. and elsewhere in the world. This is particularly true
of N-Geners now in the workforce. As Aditi Bakht, an N-Gener in Delhi puts it, “We’re aware what our

© 2007 New Paradigm Learning Corporation


Harnessing the Global N-Gen Talent Pool 5

global counterparts are doing. We have friends in the U.S. who are doing the same jobs as us. This gives
us a sense of confidence in our own work.”13

Figure 3: Would The Real Baby Boom Please Stand Up?


% of Total Population Population

N-Gen Boom N-Gen Boom


Developed Countries
North America (U.S. and Canada) 28% 28% 93 94
Western Europe 26% 27% 122 131
Japan 22% 27% 27 34
Total 26% 28% 242 259
Rising Economies
China 32% 26% 425 346
India 37% 19% 419 211
Latin American Countries (including Mexico) 37% 20% 208 116
Eastern Europe 29% 29% 93 93
Others (South and East Asia) 38% 19% 402 205
Total 35% 22% 1,545 971
(i)
ROW 41% 14% 508 181
World 35% 21% 2,296 1,411

(i) Rest of World


Source: US Census Data International Database; New Paradigm

One particular trend of the emerging global culture that favors multinational corporations is the rise of
English as the world language. Partly encouraged by the Internet, the English language continues its
hegemony over other languages. Today there are 380 million native English speakers, another 600 million
for whom English is a second language, and another 1 billion who are trying to learn the language.14
Of course, while the N-Gen is more aware of the world around it, the world itself has been evolving at
a faster pace than ever before. People in rising economies now enjoy many of the freedoms and material
goods that have long been enjoyed in the west. Autocratic governments have given way to more
democratic structures, democratic governments increasingly defer to the marketplace, and international
trade has soared to unprecedented levels. In short, we are becoming McLuhan’s global village.
All these factors play in favor of multinationals’ growing hunger for global talent—more people are
now truly available than ever before to fill the gap. What’s more, the main defining characteristics of the
global N-Gen make it better qualified than any previous generation to satisfy the needs of global
corporations: it is technologically savvy, globally-minded, and generally very familiar with (and even
fond of) rapid change.

© 2007 New Paradigm Learning Corporation


Harnessing the Global N-Gen Talent Pool 6

Global N-Gen norms


Given our shrinking world, it’s no surprise that the N-Gen is the most global generation in history. Our
primary research indicates that the8 N-Gen norms are not unique to North America; they are highly
descriptive of young people in every rising economy (see this paper’s back cover for definitions of these
norms). This suggests that the impact of high technology adoption on young people’s norms and behavior
largely transcends geographic and cultural differences (with a number of important variations and
distinctions discussed below). The good news is that many of these norms make N-Geners particularly
attractive as global employees.
Freedom: N-Geners across the world love freedom, and generally feel more liberated than their
parents. In most of the rising economies, this is due to the removal of onerous political restrictions—
N-Geners can gather, chat, party, and relocate for work more freely than previous generations. (One
exception is Latin America, which generally feels less free, as they are relatively less prosperous than a
generation or two ago.) But it also reflects the loosening of family norms: while parents may still have
strong opinions about marriage age and prospects (especially in China and India), N-Gen children are
given significantly more latitude than their parents or grandparents had when they were young. In a work
context, this expectation for freedom can be challenging for employers (e.g., when they are trying to
retain employees ), but it also brings with it a much more creative, open-minded workforce.
Customization: N-Geners believe that companies should value their input. The age of rote learning in
India and China is coming to an end; N-Geners have been taught that they must think for themselves
(though they may not yet have been taught how). This is especially true in countries where N-Geners
contribute a significant part of family income. Regardless of where one hunts for talent, employers will
encounter an increasingly demanding workforce. Employees expect to customize their career paths and
want input into when, where, and how they perform their jobs. The upside is that employers will benefit
from a workforce that is committed to changing things for the better.
Integrity: N-Geners value integrity and are intolerant of mixed messages. In the rising economies,
this plays out especially strongly—employees expect employers to follow through on promises. (One
exception is Russia, where employers may not yet generally stand up to this norm). The upside is that
N-Geners often have those same expectations of integrity of themselves.
Entertainment: N-Geners like fun, and in many rising economies, they like to bring it into their
workplace. However, just how they like to mix work and fun differs significantly by country. In general,
rising-economy N-Geners are more likely than North Americans to think that work itself is fun—
especially in the first few years of work, they find joy in the sheer intensity of their work, and seeing its
results.
Innovation: N-Geners value innovation, and do not fear change nearly as much as their parents’ or
grandparents’ generations. In China and India, most N-Geners take innovation for granted—they simply
assume, as do their developed-world colleagues, that everything is meant to get better over time. (In
Eastern Europe and Latin America, where N-Geners and their parents have witnessed a marked
deterioration in living conditions, this optimism is not as strong). Employers will need to provide
innovative work environments to attract quality employees. At the same time, employers can expect
employees to question and improve everything, which works in a company’s favor.
Collaboration: In general, N-Geners are much more accustomed to working collaboratively than
their parents. Instant messaging and social networking have made this normal. In rising economies,
employees may feel less secure about collaboration (relative to their parents, and also to their developed-
world peers), because there is still a sharp edge to competition, and many know what it’s like to be poor

© 2007 New Paradigm Learning Corporation


Harnessing the Global N-Gen Talent Pool 7

or unsuccessful. But collaboration is in their bones, and if it is encouraged and assisted by employers, it
can quickly become a standard modus operandi.
Speed: N-Geners across the world move at a higher clockspeed than their parents; even more so in
the rising economies. Bloated bureaucracies, as well as outdated technologies, defined the previous
generation. Their expectations for speed are accelerating at a very high pace. For companies in a fast-
changing world, this is a huge asset in young employees.

Expression of norms differs around the world


The eight themes revealed in last year’s research truly do define a new, global generation. But, as in any
intercultural situation, trends are not consistent, andthe expression of these themes varies widely, based
on local circumstances.
New Paradigm’s research suggests that the most successful corporations will tailor their global
culture, processes and expectations to the local interests and desires of this highly empowered generation
of young people (see Appendix 2: Select Results from New Paradigm’s Global Survey). Accordingly, the
rest of this paper provides a more detailed portrait of the N-Gen in each of four major rising-economy
regions: India, China, Latin America, and Central Europe and Russia. For each region, we provide a brief
background, then explore how local demographics, economic, and cultural conditions alter the expression
of the N-Gen norms. We also provide N-Gen talent management strategies and examples that cater to
these localized norm expressions.
Not all regions are equally promising for all multinational employers, and so we have given the
various regions differing emphasis in this paper. By sheer numbers and the attractiveness of the domestic
business environment, India and China merit deeper consideration than the other regions (with a notable
sidebar for the rest of South and East Asia). Among the other two major regions we cover, Latin America
holds greater long-term promise with its substantially larger N-Gen population (see Figure 3). However,
Eastern Europe’s N-Gen is much more immediately valuable and accessible, mostly due to a broader,
deeper education system; so we have given it slightly more attention this year.

India
Perhaps more than any other country in our sample, India’s N-Geners are just waking up to the huge
potential and opportunity they face. In a surprisingly short time, in fact, they may have become
overconfident—there are significant signs that the country’s economy, and especially labor conditions,
are overheating. Young people are extremely confident, sometimes even cavalier, to the point that
retention and turnover rates have become major issues; at their worst, these rates are almost as high as in
Mexico’s maquiladoras.15 Wages are currently rising at 16 percent per year and turnover can exceed 40
percent.16 It has become commonplace for employees to quit with no notice, or simply not to show up on
their first day.17
This confidence flies in the face of the second major challenge in India, namely the large gap between
the best- and worst-trained graduates. Although graduates of the famous Indian Institutes of Technology
and their sister Indian Institutes of Management (IITs and IIMs) compete with those from leading
universities such as Harvard and MIT, the vast majority of the 11 million students in the 18,000 second-
tier Indian colleges and universities are considered unemployable by top global and local companies.18
This requires employers to provide aggressive training, which often exacerbates the turnover problem—
well-trained employees can sometimes jump ship just after the training is over and double their salary
elsewhere.

© 2007 New Paradigm Learning Corporation


Harnessing the Global N-Gen Talent Pool 8

Despite these problems, India still possesses the highest potential amongst the rising economies for
providing qualified young employees, especially for global corporations looking to locate international
operations. It is no coincidence that Cisco, Citibank, GE, IBM, and Accenture have all invested in India.
The secret is to engage and evolve relationships with the most attractive Indian N-Geners. These are not
the ones who hop from company to company for pay increases alone. Rather, companies that craft a
broader value proposition for their employees can develop relationships that add lasting value for both
parties.

India’s N-Gen norms


Pay
For Indian N-Geners, as for employees everywhere, pay is among the most important features of a job. 19
It connotes value, it provides prestige, and it provides immediate benefits in the form of a higher standard
of living. As mentioned above, for Indians, there is a kind of “leverage” that comes from high pay—
Indian employees often live with parents and even grandparents, and they can provide up to 70 percent of
the family income.20 A young HR manager in India points out, “A lot of the people that I hire are not the
only bread winners but probably the highest bread winners in their family because they come from small
towns and cities… At least half of the hires would probably be sending a big portion of their money
home.”21 So a pay increase for an N-Gener benefits a whole family.
Savvy employers can learn from this, and tailor their talent management offerings to engage the
whole family. Indian families can make the North American concept of “helicoptering” look mild by
comparison; they expect to have deep understanding and input for all of their children’s decisions. So,
when recruiting, successful employers reach out to parents at the same time as N-Geners: they hold
information sessions for parents and campus tours for people who receive job offers.22 Then later, they
encourage employees to refer their siblings and cousins, and they offer “family benefit” programs (access
to gyms, theatres, etc., for family).23 These moves actually tie employees into the company—it can be
much harder to jump ship when the whole family will lose their perks as a result!
Another reason why pay matters to Indians is because they want to participate in the huge leap in
consumer wealth they witness all around them. India is highly oriented to discretionary spending. Today,
households in India spend 50 percent of their income on non-necessities, even though per-capita income
in real PPP (purchasing power parity) terms is only $2,500 anually; in South Korea, by contrast, real PPP
per-capita income had to reach $5,000 before consumers could redirect such a high proportion to non-
necessities.24 As one N-Gener says, “A lot of people, when they come from small towns, want to fit in
with the people in the big cities that they’re coming to live with. And the fastest way to do that is to attain
status symbols, such as mobile phones and computers, and for that you need a lot of money.”25 Savvy
employers can provide some of these status symbols as employee benefits.
With these and other more comprehensive strategies in place (see the “Successful N-Ployment
strategies” section), the best employers offer top-quartile, but not necessarily absolute-top,
compensation.26 In fact, it can be counter-productive to match absolute-top salaries. Multinational
companies are held in very high prestige, and can usually attract the very best talent without paying at the
top (see the “Prestige” section); and employees motivated disproportionately by salary are also
disproportionately likely to switch jobs quickly and often. On the other hand, for a multinational
corporation to offer less than top-quartile pay would undercut its prestige, and likely result in fewer offers
accepted.

© 2007 New Paradigm Learning Corporation


Harnessing the Global N-Gen Talent Pool 9

Prestige
Prestige and pay are closely linked in the minds of many Indian N-Geners. There is a very large cachet
associated with working for the best employers. This is partly because it implies success in a very
competitive hiring process. Indian education is driven through an extremely rigorous “ranking” process,
in which scoring outside the top ten of several thousand participants on an exam can mean denial to
medical or engineering school because of caste restrictions.27 Getting accepted to a top-tier employer is
treated with the same honor and respect as making it through one of these exams. And of course, it also
implies a bright future ahead.

Figure 4: I Want To Work For Large Or the Largest Organizations

40% 35.9%

30%

20% 16.3%

10%

0%
India North America

Source: New Paradigm Global Survey

Figure 5: I Want To Work To Include…

100%
84.0%
80.6%
80%

60% Projects
Travel
40% 31.7%
30.2%

20%

0%
India North America

Source: New Paradigm Global Survey

© 2007 New Paradigm Learning Corporation


Harnessing the Global N-Gen Talent Pool 10

The good news for multinational companies is that they are very highly regarded as employers.28 Indian
N-Geners are more than twice as likely as their North American counterparts to want to work for a large,
or one of the largest, organizations (see Figure 4). A large part of the appeal lies in “international work”—
Indian N-Geners crave exposure to leading-edge, international problems and colleagues (whether internal
coworkers or clients). (See Figure 5). At the same time, they are very aware that what makes work
“international” is not so much the location of an employer’s headquarters, but is rather the clients and/or
nature of the job—strong Indian-headquartered, global corporations such as Infosys or Tata Steel are just
as attractive as employers as companies based in North America or Europe (and sometimes are even more
attractive). In fact, the strongest Indian employers (e.g., Infosys) can often recruit the very best candidates
for slightly lower pay than can multinationals, who carry slightly greater prestige.29

Innovation
For Indian N-Gen employees, innovation is the most important of the eight norms.30 “I can see the kind of
apathy and the kind of boredom that can happen when a company you’re working with is not innovative.
Innovation would be key to whichever job I’m going to be doing after my schooling,” says Pallavi Bali, a
young media professional in Delhi.31 But an Indian’s view of innovation is much different than a North
American’s. In North America, innovation is generally considered the province of small start-ups and
rebels. In India, the path to innovation is best achieved with large and prestigious companies, preferably
ones that are multinational.32 The larger companies are literally remaking the countryside. For instance,
Infosys is transforming Mysore, near Bangalore, from a sleepy university town into the centre of its
training and development efforts—launching literally hundreds of businesses dedicated to supporting its
employees as they move or when they visit.33 Other companies are making similar changes to even
smaller cities. Indian N-Geners want to be part of that process.

Collaboration
Collaboration has not traditionally been a part of Indian industrial practices. The majority of jobs
available to previous generations were very tightly defined, so that workers completed their (white- or
blue-collar) task and simply shifted the end-product to the next employee in line. Moreover, some of the
fierce competition from the education system has also spilled over into corporate workplaces, with
employees very concerned about protecting their relative position for promotions or raises. These factors
continue to worry many Indian N-Geners.
Working against that grain, the fast-growing, high-profile industries in India absolutely require
teamwork for success. IT and business process outsourcing (BPO) projects are always team efforts—a
focus onindividualism, even by top performers, usually undermines accomplishments. With their positive
image in the country, these industries are making collaboration more attractive to N-Geners than it has
been for previous generations.
In order to help employees through the required shift in mindset and values, companies are engaging
a cottage industry of “finishing schools” that teach soft skills to graduates and new employees. Intense,
one- or two-week training programs focus on the basic building blocks of collaboration: “the ability to
speak crisp English with a placeless accent, to design and give PowerPoint presentations, to write in
logically-ordered paragraphs, to work collegially in teams, to grasp the nuances of leadership.”34 These
skills are especially valued by BPO firms with a customer service angle, and increasingly by large
domestic employers such as ICICI Bank.35 Soft skills training can take up 40-50 percent of the long initial
training programs that characterize many successful employers (see “Successful N-Ployment strategies”).

© 2007 New Paradigm Learning Corporation


Harnessing the Global N-Gen Talent Pool 11

Integrity
The most prestigious Indian businesses, especially those still owned and run by the Indian Boomer
generation have traditionally placed a strong premium on integrity. For instance, the Tata family has
provided India’s most successful industrial scions for three generations, founding such successes as Tata
Steel, Tata Tea and Tata Consultancy Services –India’s largest IT outsourcing company; but the family’s
values and ethics have always prohibited bribes or corruption, despite the prevalence of these practices
throughout the country. (These strong values led the Tatas to underwrite the freedom movement of
Gandhi and Nehru, and have provided the credentials which keep this family close to political circles of
power and influence to this day.) More recent scions, such as the founders of Infosys and Wipro, have
very much followed in this path.
Given that history, it is perhaps surprising that the Indian N-Gen values integrity least among the
eight norms, and they have lower expectations of their employers when compared to North Americans.36
Whereas in North America, integrity means, “I want my employer’s actions to match my values,” in
India, it’s defined much more narrowly: N-Geners are chiefly interested in how fairly the company deals
with them as individual employees. As one N-Gener puts it, “People are not so conscious about the
external impact of their work. I would say that [North American style] social consciousness is not there.
We are more selfish right now.”37
Bribery, for example, is generally viewed as OK as long as things get done. The N-Gener continues,
“There are organizations that believe it’s all business, they are not in it to make friends and whatever way
it gets done, you do it. So I think integrity is low right now.” This is probably a disappointment to the N-
Gen’s elders. “If you would talk to anybody from our grandparents’ generation, all of them would be
extremely disappointed at the decline in certain values in the youth of today.”38 That said, in India there is
a widespread belief that values stand in the way of progress.
For multinational employers, this view of integrity can be disappointing, and it certainly cuts against
the trend in North America and Europe, where companies attract and motivate employees in part by
showing off their positive values to society. Nevertheless, the case should not be overstated. Almost all of
the most successful, highest-profile Indian employers wear their values on their sleeves, and this is slowly
but consistently changing the rest of Indian society. For instance, recent projects in Andhra Pradesh and
Tamil Nadu have installed PCs or kiosks in villages, for the purpose of simplifying and clarifying
government documents and fees; these have made local government dramatically more transparent and
bribes harder to collect, since villagers no longer need to go through “middlemen” to submit applications.
These trends will make integrity an increasing part of India’s success.
In addition, the urge to help others is still relatively strong in India. Fourteen percent of Indian N-
Geners list non-profit organizations as their preferred employers—a number significantly lower than in
North America (25 percent), but significantly higher than any rising economy other than Russia.39 Many
of the most innovative efforts in poverty reduction worldwide, such as microfinance or improving girls’
education, are being spearheaded in India or South Asia, often by locally-based organizations such as
Grameen Bank or the Ashoka foundation.

Entertainment
The final N-Gen norm worth highlighting in India is entertainment. In this regard, Indian N-Geners are
turbo-charged compared to their North American peers. In North America, employees are thrilled to find
a foosball table or a lounge at work, whereas in India, the most successful corporate campuses are virtual
theme parks that make the dot-com excesses look mild. For instance, the Infosys 54-acre campus on the
outskirts of Bangalore has every possible amenity, including gyms, yoga studios, a multiplex cinema,

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Harnessing the Global N-Gen Talent Pool 12

banks and bowling alleys. The restaurants serve 14


different cuisines. Many of the buildings are in the National Thermal Power Corporation
low-slung Californian style, but some of the largest (NTPC)40
are modeled on Western icons, such as the Sydney Despite the competition from more alluring industries
Opera House, the Louvre pyramid or Rome’s such as IT and BPO, one stalwart company has
Basilica of St. Peter.43 Reassuringly, employees are managed to find a way to stay top-of-mind with
not allowed to use the amenities during work hours; strong N-Gen candidates by designing their
but they are packed with young people mingling in employment offering around the unique needs of
the evening after work.44 Indian employees.

The first lesson multinational employers can NTPC is the largest thermal power generator in
India and the sixth largest in the world. The company
learn from Infosys’ success is that Indian N-Geners
has received many HR awards including a third
enjoy seeing their colleagues as a kind of extended ranking in the Indian “Great Places to Work” index
family. Among many families, especially in the compiled by the Grow Talent Company, the same
South of India, it is common for young people to organization which performs the rankings for Fortune’s
spend the vast majority of their social time with “100 Best Companies to Work For” list.
their families and a very small handful (sometimes
The company hires mostly engineers, which puts it
only 1-2) of non-relative friends. By creating in direct competition with more prestigious companies
comprehensive campuses with all the amenities, in the IT sector. To combat this, NTPC does not
employers help create an atmosphere that extends recruit at the prestigious IITs and IIMs, but rather
that social circle productively into work. Almost 30 targets graduates from Regional Engineering Colleges.
percent more Indians than North Americans say The company looks for candidates who are willing to
their co-workers are good friends.45 trade in the prestige and fast-paced lifestyle of jobs at
IT companies for stability, work/life balance, and a
The second lesson is that Indian N-Geners are values-driven culture.
hungry for some of the “global lifestyle” they see
on TV and in the movies. In rising economies in NTPC’s understanding of Indian culture is evident in
their employment practices. The strong focus on
general, companies can bring that lifestyle to the
family is reflected in the HR vision of “enabling the
employees much faster than their local cities can employees to become a family of committed world-
grow it organically. The benefit is not only happier class professionals, making NTPC a learning
staff, but also loyalty, since it can be hard for 41
organization.” The company ensures that the
smaller companies to match these perks. families of its employees are adequately cared for.
NTPC offers pensions, educational grants for children,
Successful N-Ployment strategies medical care, and residential housing at their remote
plants.
How do successful employers take advantage of
Training and development is combined with
these N-Gen norms? We see 5 keys to success:
career planning to offer young recruits a steady and
1. Recruit from second- and third-tier cities. clear path. The company allots an average of 56 hours
Between them, the top-tier consultancies are of training time to employees annually. NTPC runs the
hiring 100,000 new knowledge workers each Power Management Institute, an independent training
and development center open to those outside of the
year. That means they, and everyone else, have
company. The Institute is tied to one of the famous
to look beyond the traditional elite schools in Indian Institutes of Technology, and offers over 200
the big cities for talent.46 The better training programs at its state-of-the-art campus in the
opportunities are at top schools in second- and suburbs of New Delhi.
42

third-tier cities—populations of 500,000 to 1


million—where it’s still possible to find students with a good education who chose to remain close to
home (see NTPC sidebar). Second- and third-tier schools in big cities such as Bangalore can yield
less-inspiring results.

© 2007 New Paradigm Learning Corporation


Harnessing the Global N-Gen Talent Pool 13

2. Intense, up-front and ongoing training.


Every successful Indian employer engages new National Thermal Power Corporation
recruits with an intensive training program, (cont’d)
often from 4 to 9 months long. “We build our NTPC’s corporate culture emphasizes accountability
own engineers,” says S.K. Bhagavan, who while giving their managers a high degree of
oversees Wipro’s in-house “talent autonomy. Strict measures and deadlines are used
transformation” team of 70 faculty members. to manage the progress of various projects.
In a year, Bhagavan’s team conducts 150,000 Internal and external benchmarking are also used.
hours of training, and that includes a heavy The company has performance appraisal and
employee feedback systems designed by A.T
dose of soft communication and collaboration
Kearney and Hewitt Associates to help assess
skills.47 Top employers should consider: management performance. 360-degree feedback
» Ongoing training, especially in reviews ensure that even junior employees have a
management skills. Predictably, many voice. All promotions are based on merit and
performance.
Indian talent shops have focused on
recruiting and preparing entry-level The results are impressive. Most remarkably,
employees, and have left some gaps in their NTPC’s attrition rate in 2004 was 0.17 percent, the
more senior ranks. One Infosys executive same year that the IT industry hit a high of 22
48
identifies a particular gap in management percent. NTPC is also one of the most efficient
training: “Middle management is very power generators in the world and enjoys above
young, because everyone is promoted very average profitability. A surprising set of results for
a company 90 percent owned by the Indian
quickly. We are not doing a great job at 49
government!
career counseling, coaching, etc. That’s
coming out in the [employee satisfaction]
surveys.”50 More traditional employers, employers, such as NTPC, have been able to maintain
strong reputations despite being in less-sexy industries, just because they offer this kind of longer-
term training (see NTPC sidebar).
» Paid corporate schools. One trend worth watching is the emergence of paid, corporate schools.
For instance, retail giant Pantaloon has started MBA and BBA programs at a number of
universities; in return for sponsorship, they have first pick of the top students. And Ernst &
Young has begun a paid training academy in Mumbai, hiring the top students as associates.51
3. Engage employees throughout their career. Many N-Geners are impatient for promotions and
greater responsibility within their companies. One solution that has been successful in India is to
engage them early as a way of identifying and rewarding high-performers, and also to capture their
loyalty. For instance, Infosys has created a “Voice of Youth” council of 8 high-performers; they help
prepare for, and participate in, Management Council Meetings every 2 months that bring together the
16 most senior executives and 20-30 invitees.52
4. Bring in best-practice HR from home. A couple of issues show particular promise for applying
North American best practices:
» Career paths. The most pressing emerging demand, especially from workers in the fast-
growing BPO and IT industries, is for a clear career path. These organizations tend to be
pyramids with very broad bases and narrow tops—so employees often feel that it is unlikely
they will be promoted fast or far enough. As one Dell senior manager puts it, “To improve the
retention rate within the industry, we need to highlight the career path to the employees within
a BPO organization. Once the employees understand their growth options within the
organization, it is very unlikely they will want to leave. We need to look at enhancing their skill

© 2007 New Paradigm Learning Corporation


Harnessing the Global N-Gen Talent Pool 14

sets.”53 This is something more traditional employers do well, and it stands them in good stead
(see NTPC sidebar). There seems to be an especially strong opportunity for tapping emerging
best practices around letting employees design their job descriptions, roles, and career paths.54
» Flexible hours and locations, especially for women. As recruiting spreads to second-tier cities,
employees are increasingly interested in more flexible working arrangements. These are just on
the cusp of becoming standard features for any leading company. At Infosys, one of the larger
sources of attrition is the lack of a Delhi campus. Employees are keen to move back close to
home, especially when they have children.55
The issue is especially acute for young women. One N-Gener says, “Many women go to good
colleges and can acquire graduate degrees and enter the workforce, yet they’re still expected to
get married. It’s a very strange sort of freedom in some cases because on one hand you’re given
a lot of freedom, you’re given a choice to explore, to do what you want, but at the end of the
day in many families it still comes down to tradition and culture.”56 For employers this means
that many of their best employees leave after only 3 to 5 years on the job.
Companies are just starting to respond successfully to this opportunity. For instance, Tata
Consultancy now offers two years extended leave for women: “They can start a family and
rejoin at the same post. They are very good resources and its worth the effort,” says S.
Padmanabhan, global head, human resources.57 Infosys has set up a satellite office in
Bangalore, specifically for women to work while pregnant or with young children.58 The most
creative companies will probably introduce some form of work-from-home programs soon,
now that broadband internet access is widely available and the need for employees is becoming
more urgent.
5. Tap the Indian diaspora. Young Indians educated abroad often move back to India after a few years
to take advantage of employment opportunities and to marry. Aditi Bakht says, “A lot of our friends
who are working abroad now want to come back and maybe do an MBA in India and work in India.
People see that the quality of life here has improved and that opportunities exist.”59 This can be an
especially valuable source of more senior, lateral hires—roles that are especially difficult to fill in
India today.
Taken together, these strategies help companies build longer-lasting, stronger relationships with their
staff, and even with their alumni who might become staff again at a higher level a few years down the
road, or at least serve as a good referral source (see the recommendations at the end of this paper). Those
relationships are the key to the N-Gen talent. See the sidebar case study—the lesson from NTPC, one of
India’s power generating companies, is that you don’t need to be in a sexy industry to get great
employees, if you target people who value what you offer and give them what they want.

China
Business in China has been booming for at least 10 years longer than in India, and the boom there feels a
little more sustainable and less like a bubble—the Shanghai A-class equity market notwithstanding. But
the same two basic features define China’s employment environment as do India’s: high turnover and
fast-rising wages, and an education system that turns out many mediocre (or worse) graduates that are
unsuitable for multinational work.
China currently produces more than 3.1 million university graduates per year, but less than 10 percent
of these are suitable for employment in a multinational company. The biggest failing of the remaining 90
percent: poor English language skills.60

© 2007 New Paradigm Learning Corporation


Harnessing the Global N-Gen Talent Pool 15

The nature of education received by Chinese university students also limits their appeal to Western
companies. One-third of university students are in engineering. Most of their training is biased towards
theory. Chinese students get little practical experience in projects or teamwork compared with their
counterparts in Europe or North America. The curriculum focuses on rote learning, passing examinations,
and puts little emphasis on creativity. The upshot is that the number of engineering students in China
suitable for multinational employment is no larger than that which is available in the United Kingdom.61
The mismatch of talent supply and demand in China increases the challenge of finding skilled
individuals. Of the 1.7 million students who graduated in 2003, less than one-third of them had studied in
any of the top ten university cities. Only one-quarter of all Chinese graduates live in a city or region close
to a major international airport. On top of this, only one-third of all Chinese graduates move to other
provinces for work. By contrast, almost half of all Indian graduates are close to a major international hub.
Multinational companies that want to hire Chinese graduates have difficulty reaching as many as half of
the potential candidates.62
Despite these difficulties, there is no question that China is an important destination for knowledge
work. The Chinese government is committed to matching or besting India in taking on sophisticated
services such as hardware and software design, and entrepreneurs are working hard to fulfill that vision.
China’s path may be slower, and less grandiose than India’s (less spectacular in success and perhaps also
less risky of failure), but the opportunity is undeniable—and for many global corporations, simply
unavoidable.

China’s N-Gen norms


Prestige
China is unique among the countries in our sample in that prestige is considered more important than pay
when choosing a job (though the two are clearly related).63 Jobs with multinationals in particular are
among the most prestigious in the country. One HR consultant comments, “I think right now [N-Geners]
are more focussed on brand than on innovation. They’re more interested in the Toshibas and Canons than
less-known but innovative companies.”64 This is especially true in high-skill areas and high-growth
industries. Ray Ling, a Chinese N-Gener and employer, points out, “Young people are drawn to what they
perceive to be sexy industries such as finance and electronics.”65
A second source of prestige is connections. China is still characterized by a mainly relationship-based
business world where things get done through connections. This favors jobs that offer employees the
chance to network with others, especially others in higher profile roles—think of sales or purchasing.

Pay
Of course, one of the most significant drivers of prestige is pay. Pay rates in China are rising less quickly
overall than in India, but for knowledge workers, especially those who speak English, they are rising even
more aggressively than in other countries.66 As Anita Tang, an HR consultant in Hong Kong, puts it, “I’m
not talking about the plant workers or the production workers, but the people they need brain power for.
Also for the people who have global exposure and multilingual capacities—English and Mandarin—to
cope in an environment dealing with the locals and dealing with headquarters. Those are the kind of
workers that are expecting the 25 percent pay increase.”67 One quarter of 600 executives surveyed have
plans to increase their salaries by more than 20 percent.68
Again, it helps to know why pay matters. One reason, as was common in India, is that Chinese
N-Geners often contribute a significant portion of family income. Pay doesn’t come with the same

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Harnessing the Global N-Gen Talent Pool 16

“helicoptering” that exists in India (for instance, we don’t know of any companies offering information
sessions for parents in China), but the importance of contributing to family welfare means that pay can be
the determining factor when choosing amongst employers. It can be difficult for an employee to stay with
a current employer when offered more money elsewhere; it means not just she, but also her parents and
siblings, will lose out on an improved standard of living as a result.
A second reason is that increased pay often confirms an employee’s development and corresponds to
increased opportunities for learning. This turns out to be a major motivation for Chinese workers, as we
will see below.

Customization
Customization is one of the strongest norms for the Chinese N-Gener. More than half as many Chinese as
Americans agreed that, “Instead of having a job description handed to me, I want to be able to have a say
in my job responsibilities” (see Figure 6). Unfortunately, the opportunity is almost never available. As
Tang puts it, “Most young employees are not expecting much input into their jobs. They take what is
given to them. The expectation here is you take your role; you do the best job you can within your role.
At some organizations, if you make suggestions, they’ll just point you back to your desk and tell you to
focus on your work.” 69

Figure 6: Instead of Having a Job Description Handed To Me,


I Want To Be Able To Have a Say In My Job Responsibilities

80% 77.5%

60%
49.8%

40%

20%

0%
China North America

Source: New Paradigm Global Survey

Perhaps as a result, Chinese employees change jobs rather than job descriptions—usually by changing
employers. The motivation is not just pay or prestige, but personal development. Ray, an N-Gen employer
explains, “Young people like to be exposed to new things in their jobs. This is one of the drivers of the
high turnover. In most cases they want to change, unless the company is really, really good at teaching
them and giving them a lot of responsibilities. Most of them I would say want to leave within a year and a
half or two years.”70
The modern Chinese workers’ focus on career advancement is resulting in high turnover rates. In a
survey of 600 executives, more than one-third reported an annual turnover rate higher than 10 percent.71

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Harnessing the Global N-Gen Talent Pool 17

Workers will readily quit one company to work


Shenzhen General Talents Market72 for another if it means a promotion or increase in
Figure 7: Shenzhen General Talents Market pay. Companies face a constant shortage of trained
workers and will often poach from one another.
China’s red hot economy allows Chinese
N-Geners, especially knowledge workers, to
indulge this desire for change. More than half of
executives recently surveyed say their company
plans to expand their headcount.75 This is why less
than 1 percent of graduates are unemployed.76

Collaboration
New Paradigm research shows that collaboration is
one of the weakest norms in China. The work
culture is very individualistic and competitive,
Many employers in China seek to find and recruit staff which is a continuation of the education system
quickly, especially for lower-level jobs. Located in tradition that emphasizes the individual and not
what is arguably China’s second-most dynamic city, teamwork. At the employee level, “there is little
the Shenzhen General Talents Market provides a collaboration and sharing of knowledge. The
uniquely Chinese answer to the challenge. We present culture is very competitive.”77 This contrasts
it here not so much as an example of a “best somewhat with the ability of Chinese companies to
practice,” but rather as an illustration of how different
collaborate extremely fluidly and effectively with
businesses can work in China.
other companies, both locally
The General Talents Market (also called the Human
Resource Service Center, or HRSC) is essentially a six- and globally. For example, the Chinese motorcycle
day-a-week open market for staff. Every day, industry is well-known for its highly self-organized
approximately 150 employers screen up to 8,000 and collaborative approach to reverse-engineering
applicants and often hire on the spot. Employers Japanese motorcycles and then assembling their
range from small local businesses to some of own brands for domestic and international
Shenzhen’s biggest corporate citizens, such as consumption.78
73
Foxconn. There is also a complementary online site,
www.szhr.com.cn. As a result of the personal competition,
employees are not likely to form strong friendships
The talent market is operating at capacity. There is at work.79 One employer points out, “One of the
a waiting list to reserve a booth, especially for busy
biggest challenges we have is to get people who are
days such as Mondays. The speed of business and the
keen interest for both employers and job seekers to
willing to train others. They like to keep their
settle their searches, mean important decisions are knowledge to themselves and we really need to
often made on the spot. One employer remarked, “For encourage them to teach and collaborate.”80
my company, we offered many people interviews in
the afternoon, at our company location. They climbed Integrity
on a bus and came to our offices with very little
knowledge about who we were and what we did. I’m The Chinese N-Gen sense of integrity differs from
74
not sure I know why they were so trusting.” North America and is similar to India in many
respects. Chinese employees are used to a national
culture that has them “wear a different face” (an old Chinese phrase) in different situations: as Ray puts it,
“The way people are at work and outside of work is very different. They are very adaptive to what you
want them to do...” As a result, “they don’t care about the values you have with your company as long as

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Harnessing the Global N-Gen Talent Pool 18

you’re treating them well and it doesn’t affect


them.”81 Appealing to values or goals like “making
Shenzhen General Talents Market
the world a better place” is not likely to motivate
(cont’d)
Chinese employees. Almost none of them want to
work for non-profits.82 The Talents Market has a membership base of over 10
million individuals across the country. Since its
On the positive side, sincere and repeated inception in 1997, HRSC has a record of 250,000
attention to team-building, just using simple ice- corporate users and over 3 million job postings. Its
breaking and team-building exercises well- current market recruiting sessions comprise 10
established in North America, can have excellent percent of participants in all market recruiting sessions
results in getting engineers and other knowledge across large to mid-size cities in China.
workers to collaborate at the office. Both the online and physical markets attract all levels
of workers. Some of the talent pools include:
Entertainment • semi-skilled labor and office workers
Finally, it is worth noting a subtle, but important, • post-secondary graduates who are candidates for
internships; HRSC is affiliated with some of the
shift in the meaning of entertainment as an
most prestigious universities in China connecting
employment norm. For North Americans, their graduates to jobs
entertainment is something one enjoys while taking
• high tech industrial workers with the necessary
a break from work. For Chinese N-Geners, it
experience to work in the technology sector
generally means the work itself is considered
• short-term employee “lending” pools, for which the
entertaining, because it’s considered “fun” to be
HRSC performs the hiring process prior to an actual
able to work hard and make a difference. job posting, and sends out appropriate employees
The upside: Chinese workers are among the according to a job posting’s specifications
most dedicated in the world, in terms of the hours • experienced executives typically of a high salary
they will put in. It is not uncommon to see cots in range
Chinese knowledge workers’ lab spaces, so they Local sources and practices such as this are often the
can sleep over as they crunch through an key to getting the right people. Engaging your N-Gen
engineering problem. employees to help with recruiting, as we suggest at
the end of this paper, is the best single way to stay on
top of these opportunities before they pass you by.
Successful N-Ployment strategies
Unlike India, where employees are among the most satisfied in the world, Chinese N-Geners are
generally not happy with their current employment.83 This presents a large opportunity to innovate
beyond current Chinese best practices in talent relationship management. Here are some China-specific
suggestions:
1. Play up international brands for prestige. In China, even more than India, multinationals are highly
regarded as employers. In general, they are more highly regarded than even the best Chinese
companies (though stock options in Shanghai A-listed companies are currently a big hit).
2. Create a very fast recruiting cycle; from the application process through to hiring, with lots of
feedback in between to ensure that accepted offers actually translate into a new employee. Many
candidates will accept several offers and then choose one at a later time.84 One successful technique is
to interview and make an offer the same day, with work starting the next day; this can reduce the
opportunity for employees to fish for better offers (see sidebar on the Shenzhen General Talents
Market).

© 2007 New Paradigm Learning Corporation


Harnessing the Global N-Gen Talent Pool 19

3. Find a way to use talent from second- and


Other South and East Asian Countries third-tier programs and educational
India is overheating, and China poses many institutions; N-Geners from these institutions
challenges for multinationals seeking global can be much less expensive, and much more
knowledge workers. Where might the next talent loyal. One method is to take a page from India’s
market opportunities lie? As the following sections book and recruit smart generalists, or even high
illustrate, Eastern Europe or Latin America are school graduates, then train them intensively.
unlikely candidates. As one employer (whose work is primarily
In fact, the third-most attractive market for global clerical) puts it, “The last few years we have
knowledge-worker talent includes the countries of hired mostly from high school because those are
South and South-East Asia, excluding India and the ones who actually stay. We have a lot of
China. Together, these countries provide an N-Gen trouble keeping employees that are educated
population almost equal to either India or China— past high school and definitely a very tough
and more than a third bigger than Eastern Europe
time retaining the university grads.”87
and Latin America combined. Perhaps the most
attractive opportunities—and the ones most likely to Companies that cannot migrate to these second-
garner multinational attention over the next 5 and third-tier graduates because skill
years—are the Philippines and Thailand, with requirements are too high usually have to forge
Vietnam, Malaysia, and Pakistan as notable strong relations with top universities to get a
contenders.
first crack at their graduates; this is a very
The Philippines and Thailand have been competitive space. GE, for example, has
averaging an impressive 5 percent GDP growth over relationships with 17 of China’s top 50
the past five years. Both countries are major universities.88
manufacturers and exporters of sophisticated
technologies such as semiconductors, circuits, and 4. Make English a team effort. One challenge
other electronics as well as machinery and regarding second- and third-tier candidates is
85
mechanical appliances. As in China, they are that they almost never speak English. One way
quickly developing expertise in these key areas. to overcome this is to design teams around
Both countries also have deep pools of university- project managers and leaders who speak
educated young professionals. The Philippines English; they can act as translators for
boasts well over 500,000 such professionals while individual team members. Marry this with
86
Thailand has about 300,000. Although Thailand
English training for any employees who want it.
still struggles with political instability, the Philippines
The combination is still much less expensive
and other South-East Asian countries are enjoying
much more stable political environments. than hiring first-tier employees.

Each of these countries demonstrate an 5. Bring women into your workforce. Focusing
interesting mix of the same forces already at work on second- and third-tier schools can often lead
in India and China, and so the broad strategies we employers to also locate in smaller cities, a very
recommend elsewhere apply to these countries as valuable combination, especially with regards to
well, with some modifications: retaining female employees. Family is
• Less focus on second-tier cities. Especially in extremely important, and strong family
the Philippines and Thailand, the biggest city expectations, tradition, and predetermined social
(Manila and Bangkok respectively) continues to roles dictate how Chinese individuals spend
deserve the most attention. The supply of talent, their lives. Sons are thought of as providers, and
at least anecdotally, is not yet high enough to are encouraged to obtain professional degrees in
require multinationals to move to second-tier order to climb the social ladder. Daughters are
cities. under much pressure to get married at a certain

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Harnessing the Global N-Gen Talent Pool 20

age, often limiting their time in the workforce.


Ray Ling says, “One of the challenges in Other South and East Asian Countries
retaining staff is the fact that in the mostly (cont’d)
young female workforce, most have trouble
Nevertheless, some of the same applies: second-tier
finding a boyfriend. In Shenzhen most factories schools in the biggest cities; and there is still a
tend to hire females. The ratio from females to strong draw back to smaller cities for women and
males is seven to one. Once they hit 23, their some men as they start to have families.
parents urge them to go back to their town and
• strong focus on training. In many ways, even the
get married.”89
bigger talent markets in these other countries are
The hidden opportunity is to train and develop similar to second-tier cities in India and China. No
women near their homes, and then to offer other country boasts quite the same caliber of top-
relatively flexible hours. This can provide a very notch universities as India, and China’s best
strong, and very loyal, employee base. The trend technical universities still stand significantly above
the best schools in neighboring countries. So, the
is already developing with manufacturing jobs,
focus on training is critical. Just as in India and
and we anticipate similar progress with China, remember to extend this attention beyond
knowledge work soon. Ray Ling points out, “A the initial orientation and into management training.
lot of manufacturers have moved their facilities
closer to where the workforce is so that the • pave the way for women. In these countries, as in
India and China, women are talented, loyal
young female workers can seek a job and have
employees. Consider providing “leapfrog” working
their family at the same time, closer to their conditions to tap into a pool of strong employees
hometown.”90 who might otherwise go underutilized.
6. Introduce cross-functional training to satisfy
employees’ hunger for development. Although some companies have tried to create more layers and
titles to satisfy employees’ hunger for prestige, it may be a more practical answer to move them
through various functions within a company. Tang notes, “One strategy is to have trainee programs
that attract graduates. It’s a more creative way to provide a sense of forward movement: rather than
promoting somebody every year you move them in different departments. That gives them a sense of,
‘I’m going somewhere,’ because they just won’t stay in the same job and wait three years for a
promotion.”91

Russia and Central Europe


The gap between Russia and Central Europe is growing. Despite recent economic growth, Russia is an
ailing country, with a shrinking population. Its closest Eastern European neighbors (e.g., Ukraine, and
Romania) share much of that fate, but the Central European countries furthest from its orbit (e.g., Poland,
Slovenia, Hungary, and the Czech Republic) seem to be gravitating towards the European Union.
(Notably, the employees closest to the E.U. are fleeing as well, often leaving home for good jobs in
London, Munich or Barcelona.)
To make matters worse, Russia’s business environment—known for corruption and government
strong-arm tactics—scares away many Western investors. A Gartner IT industry analyst says, “One of the
biggest challenges is global public perception of Russia as a place to take work to. If you look at what
companies are doing, they are saying they are happy to do business in Eastern Europe—but not Russia.
That’s going to take years to break down.”92

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Harnessing the Global N-Gen Talent Pool 21

Despite these factors, Russia and Eastern Europe are attractive places for short-term recruiting—more
attractive than Latin America. However, in the medium-term, the region’s demographic problems foretell
a miserable decline.
The N-Gen has particularly broad and deep knowledge and skills related to IT and engineering. The
Russian engineering diaspora is large and powerful—especially if counting Israelis of Russian origin. But
those who remain show promise as well: Russian technical universities continue to produce extremely
strong graduates by global standards. The country generates well over 225,000, high-caliber science and
engineering grads per year. Steve Chase, president of Intel Russia comments, “We continue to see very
good students come out of the universities”; in computer programming, he states, “the Russians are
absolutely tops.”93 In fact, as western companies move in, the market for qualified technical personnel is
tightening. The labor shortage is leading to a rise in salaries which now range from $1,000 a month for an
inexperienced IT worker to as much as $10,000 per month for a project manager with international
experience.94 These numbers are 2 to 5 times higher than in India or China.
At the beginning of the 1990s, many trained scientists and academics left for Western Europe and
North America.95 However, Russian youth are now less likely to want to move abroad. Sixty-six percent
of 16-24 year-olds surveyed said they would not want to live anywhere else besides Russia.96 The reasons
include the inclination to be close to family and friends, economic opportunities, and nationalism. Anna
Yablokova, a young PR executive, says, “When I was in college, I thought that I would later apply for an
MBA at a western school and then work abroad. But I changed my mind a long time ago. I can’t think of
any country in the world where I would have been able to be where I am now, at the age of 26. It hasn’t
been easy, of course, but we are living at a great time in Russia, and it wouldn’t be smart to miss it.”97

Russia and Central Europe’s N-Gen norms


Perhaps more than in any other region, Russian and Eastern European N-Geners face an unbridgeable
generation gap. They did not live under communist rule and have difficulty appreciating the suffocating
circumstances endured by their parents and grandparents. Conversely, surveys show that the young
generation is seen by the older as aggressive, cynical, immoral, materialistic, apathetic, and separated
from their roots.98 N-Geners show a complete rejection of old values and institutions. Many N-Geners
express despair. Edith Balazs, an Eastern European young professional, says, “Politically, young people
feel that they have very little influence. They support one side or the other but they don’t believe that they
can make a real difference. One of the major reasons for that is the corruption that goes on in this part of
the world.”99 A 2002 study indicated that 55 percent of young Russians were disinterested in politics with
a further 35 percent having only medium interest.100
Exacerbating the gap is the high unemployment rate, and high relative poverty among older workers.
Older workers are less desired by employers; people over 45 have a hard time finding work. The past
communist government’s monopoly over employment produced unmotivated and unproductive workers
with little job satisfaction. As a result many current job ads will explicitly state their desire to hire those
30 or 35 and under.101
Older Russians, in particular, feel abandoned by society. There are 36,000 deaths by alcohol
poisoning annually, mostly older citizens, compared to a few hundred per year in the United States.
Russians smoke more than almost any other country. The result is that male life expectancy is 59 years,
one of the lowest in the world.102
Even within the N-Gen cohort there are marked differences between those who have embraced the
economic growth and those who have trouble coping. Anna Yablokova explains, “I think that today’s
younger generation in Russia consists of two major segments. One includes people like myself and most

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Harnessing the Global N-Gen Talent Pool 22

of my friends, who speak different languages, have good jobs and travel a lot. Another segment contains
young people who feel lost, apathetic and confused. For some reason, they have not yet been able to adapt
to the new realities. Some of them have odd jobs, others no job, and many do drugs.”103
These factors drive a significant part of the distinctions in Russian and Eastern European N-Gen
norms, relative to North America.

Pay
Pay is important to young workers, but less so than in other developing nations.104 Russian employees
generally care more about using technology in the workplace because it connotes a challenging job and a
healthy, thriving business environment (see “Entertainment”)—something still more the exception than
the norm.
When pay does matter, it can often be because N-Geners in Russia and Eastern Europe are supporting
their parents. “In Hungary, a significant portion, maybe 20–40 percent, help their parents with their
earnings. Many of them also continue living at home while they work.”105

Entertainment
More Russians resonated with the statement: “Working and having fun can and should be the same
thing,” than with any other employment norm—over 90 percent of our sample agreed or strongly agreed.
This seems to be a reflection of the strong break from communism, when work was a kind of drudgery.
As in China, Russian N-Geners see entertainment as the work itself, rather than something outside of
work. It is almost unheard-of for a workplace to include any kind of entertainment facilities (e.g., pool
tables)—even at the best high tech employers. As Vitaly Gritsenko, CEO of a software company, puts it,
the main thing is that his staff “get to use their brains. They are used [from university] to work at full
capacity; if they can’t get that, they’ll leave.”106 This attitude corresponds closely with the global N-Gen
passion to use technology. Gritsenko points out, “A work environment without the latest technology is not
worth working at—it would mean something backwards, from the Communist era.”107

Customization
The second-most popular N-Gen norm among Russians is customization. Though it is highly-valued, the
opportunity to shape one’s job description is very rare today in Russia. Rather, the true power of
customization for Russian N-Gen knowledge workers comes in the form of self-employment.
More than a third of Russians and Eastern Europeans prefer to be self-employed, a similar proportion
to North Americans, and a higher number than any other rising economy in our sample except China.
Accordingly, only 25 percent of Russians want to work for large organizations—a much lower number
than any other rising economy, and much closer to North Americans’ responses.108 This poses a challenge
for large multinational employers, and suggests that they will do best when they can emphasize small
local teams with entrepreneurial mandates.
One model for coping with this trend is to hire—or at least manage—Russian engineers on a more
project-oriented basis than is normal in North America. Until recently, it was quite usual for a company
hiring a Russian IT engineer to set a simple coding task as a test: the job candidate was expected to take
the task away for 24-48 hours and return with finished code. If the code was accepted as good, the
candidate would be hired and paid retroactively for the task; if the code was sub-standard, the candidate
would be turned down and left uncompensated. This approach has recently become less common, as the
job market is getting too hot for employers to rely on it.109

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Harnessing the Global N-Gen Talent Pool 23

Another approach is to simply manage IT staff as freelancers through services such as Elance
(www.elance.com). Eastern Europeans make up a significant proportion of the highest software and
technology earners on Elance, including the very top spot as of this writing, though Indians truly
dominate the field.

Integrity
Here again there is a major break with the older generation. In a survey of 18-24 year-olds, 62 percent
indicated that they are ready to discard old principles of morality in order to achieve success.110 Not
surprisingly, N-Geners do not expect company values to be in accordance with their own. They know that
the reality of doing business in Russia often necessitates unethical behavior.111 Corrupt corporate officials
interpret policies or promises in ways that benefit them, and youth have little trust or faith in the system
since employers often renege on agreements. Although Russia does have a civil code that encompasses
workers’ rights, in practice employers have ultimate flexibility in hiring and firing. Young workers also
have to beware of their employer running out of money to pay them or getting caught in an extortion
racket.112

Successful N-Ployment strategies


In this pessimistic environment, Russian N-Gen job satisfaction is very low—second lowest only to China
in our rising-economy sample.113 There is widespread pessimism about the current economic and political
structure, and work environments. N-Geners perceive clearly that companies are run in a rigid and
hierarchical manner, there is oppressive bureaucracy and corruption, and unions are powerful.
The opportunity for multinationals entering the Russian and Eastern European markets is to
distinguish themselves from this legacy. Recommendations for such companies include:
1. Use the size and clout of your company to limit unethical business practices. Large international
firms are less likely to be the targets of corrupt officials. Oversee young employees to ensure they are
following your firm’s ethical guidelines.
2. Seek out top candidates from secondary cities.114 In Russia in particular, it can be easy to think that
Moscow is the only place that matters—the city accounts for 20 percent of Russian GDP, and its
residents can earn 4 to 6 times the pay of anyone else in the country.115 But the Russian workforce is
dispersed and there is little mobility.116 Education in Russian universities is surprisingly broad and
deep: there are many strong technical resources available in regional centers such as St. Petersburg,
Omsk, or Novosibirsk.117
3. Sponsor and support cash-strapped universities. Following the collapse of communism, many
universities lost their funding. In Russia, education funding is a fraction of what it was under
communism. The private sector has now moved in to provide up to 45 percent of all research funding.
Intel’s approach illustrates an effective strategy. The company first moves in by donating equipment
and gradually gets more involved in shaping the curriculum. The company will also contract work to
university researchers. “We’re partly doing this because we want a good pipeline [of students] in the
future,” explains Steve Chase, the president of Intel Russia.118 Companies such as Cisco, KPMG,
Microsoft, and Nestlé also have university programs that support academia in order to attract the top
graduates.119
4. Give young talent the responsibility and autonomy to carry out projects, appealing to their
entrepreneurial spirits. Also, allow each employee some time and resources to pursue their own
projects and interests.

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Harnessing the Global N-Gen Talent Pool 24

This point marries well with the freedom norm valued highly by Russian N-Geners. Especially among
engineers, it is widely expected that employees can complete their work at the time of day they
choose, and from their location of choice, so long as the code is high-quality and deadlines are met.120
This also favors the freelance mindset discussed under customization.
It also marries well with pay for performance schemes. With universal employment during communist
times, the link between compensation/promotion and individual employee performance was very
weak. Pay for performance is especially appealing to entrepreneurial and self-reliant young workers.
5. Pay attention to women. Women in Russia, though better educated and generally facing less
discrimination than elsewhere, are still a relatively under-appreciated and untapped resource. In
particular, they may be uniquely suited to multinationals: they are generally (though not always) less
likely to aspire to own their own business, and are more likely to be loyal to an employer who treats
them well.121
6. As everywhere in the rising economies, invest heavily in training:
» Augment the solid theoretical grounding of the educational system with intern programs and
practical on-the-job training. “The two main things that new graduates are looking for are
salary and practical skills. Young people do not work while they study so they are very
dependant on their parents. Their education is also fairly theoretical so real-world skills are
lacking.”122 Real skills that are lacking include teamwork, leadership, communication, time
management, and cross-cultural interaction.123
» Seek out top candidates from non-technical fields and give them practical training. There is a
mismatch between the large supply of graduates from non-technical fields and the demand for
technical workers such as engineers and scientists. But non-technical educations are often
strong as well, and graduates can often learn technical skills with relatively little assistance.124
7. Create elite development programs that will fast track select employees through their careers.
The idea of merit-based promotion and competition for the top spots is very appealing to youth in
these locations. Russian aluminum producer, Rusal, created a “Golden Reserve” program to help in its
restructuring efforts. Victoria Petrova, Rusal’s HR director, explains that, “around these people, we
knew we could form the nucleus of the organization and build a new Rusal.”125

Latin America
An old joke has it that Brazil is the country of the future and always will be.126 Sadly, the same could be
said of many Latin American countries—from Argentina to Mexico, and everywhere in between. Despite
a period of economic promise following the Second World War, Latin America remains mired in
corruption, bureaucracy, and bloat. Between 1960 and 1980, Latin American economies gained an 80
percent increase in income per person. Over the following 20 years the per capita income grew only 11
percent with most of the growth taking place in the 1990s.127 Because of the difficult business
environment, much of economic activity has shifted to the informal sector, out of reach of government
taxation and bureaucracy (Figure 8).
Latin American countries often seem to have government programs that mirror North American and
European ideas from the 1970s, long since abandoned as overtaxing and cumbersome. For instance,
Brazil’s pension system is generous even by industrialized nation standards. Many workers retire in their
mid-fifties after 35 years of service (30 years for women). Labor laws are restrictive and taxes add 60
percent to a business’s payroll costs.128 Average severance pay in Latin America is 2.7 months’ salary

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Harnessing the Global N-Gen Talent Pool 25

compared to none in the U.S., 1.1 in Europe and 1.5 in Asia.129 The system drives companies to hire as
few people as possible.

Figure 8: Informal Economy


Under the table – informal economy in 2003,(i) as a percentage of GDP

Latin America(ii) 38 Peru 61

South Korea 29 43
Colombia

India 26 Brazil 42

China 16 37
Venezuela
0 10 20 30 40 33
Mexico
% of GDP
Argentina 29

Chile 21

Other(iii) 47

0 10 20 30 40 50 60 70
% of GDP

(i) Latest available data.


(ii) Weighted average by GDP.
(iii) Includes Bolivia, Costa Rica, Dominican Republic, Ecuador, El Salvador, Guatemala, Haiti, Honduras, Jamaica, Nicaragua, Panama,
Paraguay, Puerto Rico, and Uruguay.

Source: McKinsey & Company

The result is predictable: stagnant economies, high unemployment, and an entrenched class system. Latin
America has the most uneven income distribution of all regions in the world.130 The education system is
poor, and prepares only a select few for work in multinational companies (Figure 9). Latin America’s
students rank very low in math and reading tests administered by the OECD.131 Roughly half of 10 year-
olds are functionally illiterate. Expensive private secondary education is necessary to attend quality
universities; the only well-prepared N-Gen candidates are often children of the rich. As one N-Gener puts
it, “In order to get into a very good school and to have the chance to go abroad to study or to work, you
need to study in very good high schools and junior high schools. They are very expensive, so low- and
middle-class students can’t afford it.”132
For these reasons, we believe Latin America has the lowest short-term potential for significant global
hiring among our four regions. Although the demographics are favorable—more than 200 million up-and-
coming N-Geners—the structural politics and economics of the region are likely to keep N-Geners
underproductive for the foreseeable future.

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Harnessing the Global N-Gen Talent Pool 26

Figure 9: Education Standards


Education enrollment and performance

United States France


100 Total public spending on education
Greece South Korea as a percentage of GDP, 2003
Spain United Kingdom
Mexico 5.8
Net enrollment at age 15, %

90
Chile
Thailand
OECD(iii) 3.7
80
Argentina
Uruguay Brazil 4.7
70 Indonesia
Peru
Brazil Chile 3.7
60 Mexico
Argentina 3.5

50 0 1 2 3 4 5 6
300 350 400 450 500 550 600
% of GDP
Low Performance(ii) High
Latin American countries(i) Other countries(i)

(i) Latest available data: Argentina, Chile, Peru from 2000; Brazil, Mexico, Uruguay, other countries from 2003.
(ii) Average of math, reading, and science scores.
(iii) Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development.

Source: McKinsey & Company

Latin America’s N-Gen norms


Many of Latin America’s N-Gen norms are quite similar to those in North America, with more subtle
differences than found in India or China.

Pay
Of course, in stagnant economies where people feel poorer than the previous generation, pay matters.
What is interesting to note is that even among wealthy elites the primary motivation for high pay is to
write down debilitating student loans. As one N-Gener puts it, “Our generation is becoming poorer and
we cannot afford as much as our parents when they were starting out. That’s why people stay longer at
their parents’ home, often into their 30s.”133
The opportunity: many students start working before they finish school to earn money and get practical
experience. Companies that employ students buy themselves some loyalty as the cohort graduates.

Customization
This is the highest-ranked norm for the N-Gen in Brazil and Mexico.134 Just like their North American
counterparts, Latin Americans want a say in their job responsibilities. The slight difference is in their
perhaps more reasonable sense of entitlement. The North American N-Gen is infamous for its
overconfidence: many employees believe they should be listened to from the first days on the job.135 By
contrast, Latin Americans share the sense with other rising-economy N-Geners that they need to earn this
right through good work and demonstrated ability.136 Being able to give input into one’s job description is
an accomplishment, a statement of the regard in which an employee is held.

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Harnessing the Global N-Gen Talent Pool 27

Innovation
Innovation is the second-highest ranked norm for both Mexico and Brazil.137 As in India, the ability to
innovate is associated with working for a large and prestigious firm. Generally Latin America scores
poorly on investment in R&D (Figure 10).138

Figure 10: R&D Spending


Expenditure on R&D
Country as % of GDP (2002-2003)
Brazil 1.0%
Argentina 0.4%
Mexico 0.4%
Chile 0.6%
OECD Average 2.3%

Source: UNESCO Institute for Statistics

Most of the R&D spending in Latin America is by universities and other public institutions.139 By
contrast, spending in the OECD is above 2 percent of GDP, and is mostly done by industry.
As a result, almost 50 percent of both Brazilians and Mexicans want to work for a large or very large
organization, compared to just over 15 percent of North Americans.140 From our interviews, the bias is
towards companies with international scope—which generally means multinationals headquartered
elsewhere (Brazil’s recent successes notwithstanding).

Collaboration
This is the third-most important norm in Brazil and Mexico, ranking 50 and 65 percentage points higher
than in North America respectively.141 In the Latin American context, collaboration revolves around
cooperation and a social atmosphere in the workplace. N-Geners in Latin America value this highly: “For
many people it’s really important to be in an environment where they feel comfortable. If you don’t agree
with the company’s culture, you would eventually probably leave.”142
Social interaction and collaboration are closely linked. Eighty percent of Brazilian and 92 percent of
Mexican N-Geners report having a good friend at work, compared to 50 percent in North America.143

Entertainment
Entertainment at work is one of the weakest norms in Latin America.144 Prevailing attitudes dictate that
work is done in a professional manner although in a social and collaborative atmosphere. Latin Americans
make a clear distinction between work and entertainment.

Freedom
For Latin American N-Geners, as for those in North America, work/life balance is important. “For many
people it is important to balance their work and personal life. If they are established in a certain city with
family and friends they are reluctant to move.”145 OECD estimates that Latin Americans work similar or

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Harnessing the Global N-Gen Talent Pool 28

fewer hours than North Americans.146 As a result, Brazil was the only country in our sample to voice
interest in flexible hours or telecommuting.

Successful N-Ployment strategies


Given the high unemployment rate among even well-qualified N-Geners, talent management is not as
challenging in Latin America as in India or China. A lot of successful North American employment
strategies work well in Latin America, with a couple of adjustments or additions:
1. Play up international credentials. Position your firm as a large, global player that is on the cutting
edge of innovation. One N-Gener notes, “Companies who are considered ‘boring’ and not innovative
have a tough time recruiting good candidates.”147 Another concurs, “Working for large multinational
companies will give you status and recognition, and will look good on your resume. Those are very
important factors.”148
2. Offer full- and part-time work terms and internships to students that give them on-the-job
training. Give young workers responsibility early on and let them work on innovative projects.
3. Sidestep the weak secondary education system by providing scholarships or sponsoring schools.
In addition to being socially responsible this will increase the supply of available talent. An example
of this is Embraer’s Juarez Wanderley school. The aircraft manufacturer established a high school to
give impoverished but bright children a chance to get a good education. The three-year program
admits 200 students who compete for spots through demanding exams. The school is ranked among
the top 15 in Brazil (including public and private). The school focuses on technical subjects for the 40
percent of students who are interested in studying engineering in college, possibly training the next
cadre of Embraer’s engineers.149
4. Unlike in India and China, there is very little to be gained by going to second- or third-tier cities;
almost none of the talent is available there. However, it can be valuable to use innovative tactics to
help employees deal with congestion and travel time in large cities or to locate outside of overcrowded
areas. As one N-Gener points out, “Very few people from outside Mexico City would be willing to go
and live there. It’s very unsafe, expensive, and dirty. Most people prefer to work in other cities.”150
Popular strategies include telecommuting and flexible work hours. Use work-extending technologies,
such as laptops and wireless email. This has become the norm for N-Geners: “More and more
companies allow you to choose your hours and if you need to take a day off work you can make it up
or work around your vacation. It’s becoming more important.”151
5. Use temporary contracts and seasonal or part-time workers to avoid hiring full-time staff. This
helps avoid many of the expenses and legislation associated with full-time employment in Latin
America. It also caters to the N-Gen norms of freedom, customization, and speed as it allows young
people to change jobs quickly and learn new skills with a variety of employers.

Beyond Best Practice: Global Talent Relationship Management


As we have profiled each of the rising-economy regions in this paper, we have highlighted local best
practices and explained how they cater to the regional expressions of the global N-Gen norms. These best
practices are informative, but we recommend that companies innovate beyond them, because they are
unlikely to suffice in the changing circumstances of the rising economies. In China and India, conditions
are changing so rapidly that today’s best practices are simply a baseline standard tomorrow. And in Latin
America and Eastern Europe, the N-Gen talent pool is woefully underdeveloped; companies that move

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Harnessing the Global N-Gen Talent Pool 29

beyond today’s best practices gain the opportunity to realize significantly greater returns from their
investments in training tomorrow’s talent.
With the opportunity to set a new bar for the world’s best employers in mind, we propose the
following revolutionary practices in N-Gen talent relationship management. We divide our proposals
following the “Initiate, Engage, Evolve” framework introduced in Don Tapscott and Robert Barnard’s
paper “Talent 2.0: The Net Generation and the World of Work.”152
Perhaps the most important message is to engage the N-Gen in designing and following-through on
your talent management proposition, offering, and process. We have stressed throughout this paper that
although the N-Gen norms are found globally, each country’s expression of those norms can differ—and
simply imposing North American expectations on rising economies can be counter-productive. The same
is true even within a single economy: each company will have its own unique ideal “market segment”
among N-Gen employees (defined by skills, culture, and location); your company’s market segment will
have its own flavor of N-Gen norms. The single strongest way to ensure that your local talent
management strategy matches the interests of your best employees is to involve those employees directly
in the strategy and its execution.

Initiate
In the “initiate” stage, employers seek to identify, attract, and hire the best talent, using a relational model
that treats the hiring process as a 2-way matching exercise. Key recommendations for this stage include:
1. Use technology, especially mobile phones. Although Internet penetration rates in rising economies
are generally lower than in North America, the most attractive N-Gen candidates are already
technologically savvy. Do not hesitate to use the Internet extensively to present your company, seek
strong candidates, and conduct the hiring process. Doing so effectively will serve not only to increase
speed and reduce cost, it will also dramatically increase the perceived innovation and strength of your
company relative to other employers.
Given the huge scale of most companies’ recruiting efforts in India and China (due both to growth and
to turnover), this point deserves special attention: technology that can harness the power of N-Gen
relationships can dramatically simplify the recruiting process, and simultaneously improve the quality
of recruits.
Remember that N-Geners in rising economies are much more likely to access the Web through their
cell phones than through PCs or laptops. Design your recruiting technology face with that in mind.
Beyond the usual “send this page to a friend” link on your recruiting Web site, offer a chance to talk
live with an existing employee. And give candidates the chance to forward information by SMS or text
message, not just email. All of these suggestions help N-Geners work with your company in their
technology medium of choice.
2. Engage the N-Gen network. The N-Gen is arguably the most relationship-driven generation in
history. Successful employers will take advantage of those relationships at every stage of the
employee lifecycle. Here are some specific suggestions:
» Present an N-Gen face. Have N-Gen employees in your company design your recruitment Web
site and related functions. Include authentic N-Gen blogs by employees, without censoring
challenging or “unorthodox” material, to engage candidates’ interest. Consider designing a
Hiring FAQ page in the form of a wiki, edited freely by your own staff and with room for
comments by outsiders. Engage staff in answering candidates’ questions live, and pair them up
with accepted candidates, so they can probe and encourage those candidates. These ideas will

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Harnessing the Global N-Gen Talent Pool 30

be even more radical in rising economies than in North America, but they bring a strong
opportunity to leapfrog traditional concepts at the same time.
» Stimulate N-Gen network connections. Ask applicants to name at least 2 current or former
employees of your company as references. Then, automate the process so that these employees
get asked for input about the applicant via email or a Web page. If that input is in the form of a
wiki, you give your own employees the chance to calibrate their references transparently before
you see them. If an employee does not provide feedback on a candidate within 72 hours, you
can pretty much assume that she has nothing positive to say. In contrast, if an employee takes
the time to comment on an outside candidate (for better or worse), offer a meaningful reward—
but don’t make it dependent on a successful hire. This form of automation in the hiring process
is especially valuable in countries such as India or China, where multinationals need to hire
astounding numbers just to keep up with rates of attrition, let alone with growth. It also takes
advantage of the value attributed to personal networks in many rising economies.
» Involve N-Geners across the company. Don’t restrict recruiting activities to HR employees! At
all successful companies, talent management comprises a little bit of everybody’s job.
3. Make the process quick. Given the huge hiring needs of most companies, especially in China or
India, it can be better to design a process that provides fast thumbs-up/thumbs-down decisions, rather
than trying to optimize between all the candidates you get or may hope to get in a recruiting round.
Occasionally, you will find yourself wondering whether to accept a late candidate whose credentials
are fantastic, despite having already filled your quotas; but more often, you will be struggling to find
enough good candidates, just as you are today.
Remember also that the recruitment process is not over until an employee has shown up for her first
day of work, and arguably the first week. The faster the cycle, the less likely you are tolose the
employee before you have even issued a paycheque.

Engage and evolve


In the “engage” and “evolve” stages, employers seek to develop their relationship with employees for
increasing mutual benefit.
1. Engage employees in corporate strategy and policies. Follow Infosys’ Voice of Youth council
example. The benefits are legion: energy and dynamism contributed to executive committee meetings;
growth and mentorship for your highest young performers; and a forum of inspiration (and a sounding
board) for all your other N-Gen employees too. Given the young average age of most successful
rising-economy companies, a Voice of Youth can really be a very strong representation of most of the
company.
2. Train employees aggressively. In almost every country in the world, and certainly in the main rising
economies, it pays to recruit from second- and third-tier cities and schools, and then to train employees
intensively throughout their careers. Initial training programs of 3 to 9 months are not unheard of, but
it is important to develop the right content with a focus on soft skills such as communication and
teamwork. In addition, the very best employers will put significant attention on ongoing training,
especially management training. For all companies with large N-Gen staff complements, this is likely
to be a weak area.
3. Pave the way for women. In most rising economies, women are an undervalued, yet highly
productive, part of the N-Gen workforce. Although family norms may ask them to come home, get
married, and raise children, women do not “check their brains” in the delivery room. In most rising

© 2007 New Paradigm Learning Corporation


Harnessing the Global N-Gen Talent Pool 31

economies, N-Gen women have been raised and educated to perform as well or better than their male
peers. Investing in satellite offices, telecommuting and daycare, though seemingly unnecessary today,
will provide a growing, capable and loyal workforce. What’s more, with home broadband increasingly
available at low cost, the technical infrastructure is very much becoming a non-issue.
4. Continue to mine your alumni for referrals. N-Gen alumni expect to remain connected to their
earlier employers—this common practice from the consulting industry is increasingly well-known and
appreciated. Offer the same process and rewards for alumni as you do for employees, and you will be
rewarded with recommendations and referrals for years after an employee has left your direct care.
Again, this is especially valuable in environments such as India and China where people expect to
change jobs often, and where personal networks are considered valuable assets to be nurtured.
Many of the recommendations in this paper, especially those beyond best practice, require employers to
fully embrace the N-Gen world—including its speed, transparency, and relationship-focus. This can be a
scary proposition, but one well worth the rewards.
The rising economies offer an unprecedented bounty of talent that will not only work for tomorrow’s
global corporations, but will increasingly shape and direct the most successful corporations, wherever
their nominal headquarters. Engaging the N-Gen’s most positive norms will help your company adapt
itself for the future, faster and more productively than most of your peers.

© 2007 New Paradigm Learning Corporation


Harnessing the Global N-Gen Talent Pool 32

Appendix 1: Country Demographics


N.B. The following figures are sourced from the U.S. Census Bureau, International Database.

United States population statistics, 2005


Male Female
85+
80-84
75-79
70-74
65-69
60-64
55-59
50-54
45-49
40-44
35-39
30-34
25-29
20-24
15-19
10-14
5-9
0-4

-12 -10 -8 -6 -4 -2 0 0 2 4 6 8 10 12

Population (in millions)

India population statistics, 2005


Male Female
100+
95-99
90-94
85-89
80-84
75-79
70-74
65-69
60-64
55-59
50-54
45-49
40-44
35-39
30-34
25-29
20-24
15-19
10-14
5-9
0-4

-70 -60 -50 -40 -30 -20 -10 0 0 10 20 30 40 50 60 70

Population (in millions)

© 2007 New Paradigm Learning Corporation


Harnessing the Global N-Gen Talent Pool 33

China population statistics, 2005


Male Female
100+
95-99
90-94
85-89
80-84
75-79
70-74
65-69
60-64
55-59
50-54
45-49
40-44
35-39
30-34
25-29
20-24
15-19
10-14
5-9
0-4

-70 -60 -50 -40 -30 -20 -10 0 0 10 20 30 40 50 60 70

Population (in millions)

Brazil population statistics, 2005


Male Female
80+
75-79
70-74
65-69
60-64
55-59
50-54
45-49
40-44
35-39
30-34
25-29
20-24
15-19
10-14
5-9
0-4
-10 -8 -6 -4 -2 0 0 2 4 6 8 10

Population (in millions)

Argentina population statistics, 2005


Male Female
80+
75-79
70-74
65-69
60-64
55-59
50-54
45-49
40-44
35-39
30-34
25-29
20-24
15-19
10-14
5-9
0-4
-2.0 -1.5 -1.0 -0.5 0.0 0.0 0.5 1.0 1.5 2.0

Population (in millions)

© 2007 New Paradigm Learning Corporation


Harnessing the Global N-Gen Talent Pool 34

Mexico population statistics, 2005


Male Female
100+
95-99
90-94
85-89
80-84
75-79
70-74
65-69
60-64
55-59
50-54
45-49
40-44
35-39
30-34
25-29
20-24
15-19
10-14
5-9
0-4

-6 -5 -4 -3 -2 -1 0 0 1 2 3 4 5 6

Population (in millions)

Chile population statistics, 2005


Male Female
80+
75-79
70-74
65-69
60-64
55-59
50-54
45-49
40-44
35-39
30-34
25-29
20-24
15-19
10-14
5-9
0-4
-1.0 -0.8 -0.6 -0.4 -0.2 0.0 0.0 0.2 0.4 0.6 0.8 1.0

Population (in millions)

Russia population statistics, 2005


Male Female
100+
95-99
90-94
85-89
80-84
75-79
70-74
65-69
60-64
55-59
50-54
45-49
40-44
35-39
30-34
25-29
20-24
15-19
10-14
5-9
0-4

-7 -6 -5 -4 -3 -2 -1 0 0 1 2 3 4 5 6 7

Population (in millions)

© 2007 New Paradigm Learning Corporation


Harnessing the Global N-Gen Talent Pool 35

Poland population statistics, 2005


Male Female
100+
95-99
90-94
85-89
80-84
75-79
70-74
65-69
60-64
55-59
50-54
45-49
40-44
35-39
30-34
25-29
20-24
15-19
10-14
5-9
0-4

-2.0 -1.5 -1.0 -0.5 0.0 0.0 0.5 1.0 1.5 2.0

Population (in millions)

Hungary population statistics, 2005


Male Female
100+
95-99
90-94
85-89
80-84
75-79
70-74
65-69
60-64
55-59
50-54
45-49
40-44
35-39
30-34
25-29
20-24
15-19
10-14
5-9
0-4

-500 -400 -300 -200 -100 0 0 100 200 300 400 500

Population (in thousands)

© 2007 New Paradigm Learning Corporation


Harnessing the Global N-Gen Talent Pool 36

Appendix 2: Select Results from New Paradigm’s Global Survey


Norms India China Mexico Brazil Russia N.Am W.Eu Rising World
Innovation 82% 80% 92% 79% 74% 72% 67% 81% 79%
Customization 77% 77% 94% 79% 81% 50% 57% 78% 74%
Entertainment 68% 80% 84% 56% 91% 68% 71% 74% 73%
Freedom 75% 73% 83% 69% 67% 70% 63% 74% 72%
Scrutiny 75% 70% 84% 75% 74% 54% 53% 73% 70%
Collaboration 71% 63% 91% 77% 31% 26% 40% 67% 62%
Integrity 65% 65% 93% 77% 46% 51% 41% 66% 63%
Speed 62% 25% 42% 53% 38% 33% 37% 44% 42%

Which do you want to do? India China Mexico Brazil Russia N.Am W.Eu Rising World
Work for one or two companies 55% 62% 62% 65% 75% 72% 65% 60% 61%
Work for a variety of companies 45% 38% 38% 35% 25% 28% 35% 40% 39%

I agree/strongly agree with the following: India China Mexico Brazil Russia N.Am W.Eu Rising World
At work, I can get the info I need to do my job quickly 77% 76% 91% 80% 72% 60% 56% 77% 74%
I need to do a variety of things at work/not too much routine 75% 77% 90% 78% 75% 46% 63% 76% 72%
I have a really good friend at work 78% 72% 93% 79% 50% 51% 50% 75% 71%
I have enough flexibility in my work schedule... 74% 75% 91% 75% 47% 55% 53% 74% 71%
I receive enough recognition for doing good work 75% 70% 90% 76% 56% 45% 41% 73% 68%
I receive explicit feedback when things don't go well 71% 65% 87% 61% 66% 45% 49% 68% 64%
I will take the lead to discuss professional development... 78% 59% 90% 54% 61% 51% 50% 68% 64%
I have good opportunities for career advancement 76% 55% 91% 77% 62% 41% 43% 67% 63%
I am satisfied with my current work experience 72% 53% 90% 75% 57% 50% 48% 64% 62%

Who is your ideal employer? India China Mexico Brazil Russia N.Am W.Eu Rising World
For-profit company 62% 65% 82% 71% 69% 55% 46% 65% 64%
Government 24% 25% 14% 23% 16% 20% 33% 23% 23%
Non-profit organization 14% 10% 4% 6% 15% 25% 21% 12% 13%

If you could work anywhere, where would you work India China Mexico Brazil Russia N.Am W.Eu Rising World
For yourself 24% 33% 12% 21% 35% 36% 36% 28% 29%
At a medium-sized organization... 28% 22% 25% 13% 14% 18% 13% 23% 22%
At a large organization... 22% 18% 43% 30% 12% 9% 8% 21% 20%
At one of the largest organizations... 14% 17% 5% 18% 13% 7% 12% 15% 14%
At a small organization... 12% 11% 16% 18% 26% 30% 31% 13% 15%

I agree/strongly agree that the following is


important in an employer: India China Mexico Brazil Russia N.Am W.Eu Rising World
How much I am paid 89% 84% 89% 83% 82% 82% 79% 86% 85%
The prestige of the company 83% 88% 89% 81% 72% 51% 56% 85% 80%
Having technologies in the workplace... 87% 82% 88% 83% 88% 72% 69% 85% 82%
The ability to work on international projects 84% 70% 86% 80% 71% 30% 48% 77% 71%
Having a mentor that looks out for me 72% 79% 86% 77% 54% 59% 45% 75% 72%
International travel 81% 60% 88% 80% 60% 32% 42% 71% 66%
Being able to work in a variety of jobs for same employer 79% 61% 88% 77% 38% 57% 61% 70% 68%

N-Gen Population India China Mexico Brazil Russia N.Am W.Eu Rising World
419 424 41 68 41 93 58 992 1,171

Note: Regional percentages are weighted averages based on countries' N-Gen populations

Source: U.S. Census Bureau, International Database; New Paradigm

© 2007 New Paradigm Learning Corporation


Harnessing the Global N-Gen Talent Pool 37

DEEPAK RAMACHANDRAN has been an independent consultant since 1999, with a focus on
strategy and cross-border mergers and acquisitions. In recent years he has served as director of strategy
for Celestica Power Systems, a $100 million division that was recently sold to C&D Technologies, Inc.
Deepak contributed extensively to Digital 4Sight’s Hypernet research program. His experience also
includes a number of cross-border mergers and alliances as a consultant with McKinsey and Company.
He has degrees from the University of Toronto and the University of Oxford.

PAUL ARTIUCH is a senior research analyst and associate director of member services at New
Paradigm. Paul’s most recent experience includes research into external innovation, idea markets,
collaboration tools as well as global talent markets. He has authored and co-authored a number of New
Paradigm white papers and case studies dealing with the impact of technology and demographics on
business models. Paul has written and published cases for the Richard Ivey School of Business in the
area of marketing, strategy and entrepreneurship. He also has consulting experience in the retail,
consumer packaged goods, manufacturing and non-profit sectors. Paul holds a degree from the Richard
Ivey School of Business.

Endnotes
1
Janet Hardy and Bill Gillies, “Attracting and Engaging the N-Gen Employee” New Paradigm White Paper, Net
Generation, June 2007.
2
RHR International quoted in “The Battle for Brainpower,” The Economist, October 5, 2006,
www.economist.com/surveys/displayStory.cfm?story_id=7961894.
3
For instance, Ogilvy’s Brian Fetherstonhaugh, CEO of OgilvyOne, remembers every day that he needs to hire
5,296 people in the next three years to maintain his growth goals. Quote from the Net Generation Strategic
Investigation Member Meeting, New Paradigm, March 20, 2007.
4
“The Battle for Brainpower,” The Economist, October 5, 2006,
www.economist.com/surveys/displayStory.cfm?story_id=7961894.
5
Ibid.
6
Ibid.
7
“Evolution of Student Interest in Science and Technology Studies Policy Report,” Organization for Economic Co-
operation and Development Global Science Forum, May 4, 2006, www.oecd.org/dataoecd/16/30/36645825.pdf.
8
http://www.kauffman.org/pdf/thursby_final_1206.pdf.
9
“The Emerging Global Labor Market: Part I—The Demand for Offshore Talent in Services,” McKinsey Global
Institute, June 2005,
www.mckinsey.com/mgi/reports/pdfs/emerginggloballabormarket/Part1/MGI_demand_executivesummary.pdf.
10
Ibid.
11
“The world is your oyster,” The Economist, October 5, 2006,
www.economist.com/surveys/displaystory.cfm?story_id=7961950.
12
Interview with Anita Tang (25), HR consultant in Hong Kong, conducted by Deepak Ramachandran and Paul
Artiuch, New Paradigm, April 25, 2007.
13
Interview with Aditi Bakht (23), HR professional in Delhi, conducted by Deepak Ramachandran and Paul
Artiuch, New Paradigm, April 23, 2007.
14
Wikipedia search on “English Language,” http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/English_language.

© 2007 New Paradigm Learning Corporation


Harnessing the Global N-Gen Talent Pool 38

15
Mexico’s industrial “free trade” areas at the U.S. border, called maquilladoras, have been famous over more than
20 years for very high employee turnover, and therefore low product quality.
16
“The world is your oyster,” The Economist, October 5, 2006,
www.economist.com/surveys/displaystory.cfm?story_id=7961950.
17
Interview with Smruti Devanahalli, Bangalore, conducted by Deepak Ramachandran, New Paradigm, June 2,
2007.
18
Anand Giridharadas, “In India’s higher education, few prizes for 2nd place,” International Herald Tribune,
November 26, 2006, www.iht.com/articles/2006/11/26/news/india.php?page=1.
19
New Paradigm Study of the N-Gen, n=1,750, 13-20 year olds in the U.S. and Canada, 2006 and 2007.
20
Eva Kolenko, “Parental Consent,” Fast Company, December 2006/January 2007,
www.fastcompany.com/magazine/111/next-dispatch.html.
21
Anonymous interview with an HR manager in Delhi, conducted by Deepak Ramachandran and Paul Artiuch, New
Paradigm, April 25, 2007.
22
Eva Kolenko, “Parental Consent,” Fast Company, December 2006/January 2007,
www.fastcompany.com/magazine/111/next-dispatch.html.
23
Raja Simhan, “Refer candidates and get rewarded at IT companies,” The Hindu Business Line, Sepember 24,
2003, www.blonnet.com/2003/09/24/stories/2003092402690100.htm, and Mary Weier, “Tata and Infosys set the
Bar: 15 percent Raises this year in India,” InformationWeek, April 21, 2007,
www.informationweek.com/news/showArticle.jhtml?articleID=199200211.
24
“The ‘Bird of Gold’: The Rise of India’s Consumer Market,” McKinsey Global Institute, May 2007.
25
Anonymous interview with an HR manager in Delhi, conducted by Deepak Ramachandran and Paul Artiuch, New
Paradigm, April 25, 2007.
26
Interview with senior executives at Infosys (anonymous), Bangalore, conducted by Deepak Ramachandran, New
Paradigm, June 2, 2007.
27
Many of India’s prestigious programs reserve the majority of positions for lower castes in attempts to level the
socio-economic playing field. However, this means that N-Geners from high castes need to score comparatively
higher on exams than their lower caste peers in order to gain acceptance to such institutions.
28
Interview with Aditi Bakht (23), HR professional in Delhi, conducted by Deepak Ramachandran and Paul
Artiuch, New Paradigm, April 23, 2007.
29
Interview with senior executives at Infosys (anonymous), Bangalore, conducted by Deepak Ramachandran, New
Paradigm, June 2, 2007.
30
New Paradigm Study of the N-Gen, n=1,750, 13-20 year olds in the U.S. and Canada, 2006 and 2007.
31
Interview with Pallavi Bali (23), media professional in Delhi, conducted by Deepak Ramachandran and Paul
Artiuch, New Paradigm, April 23, 2007.
32
Interview with Aditi Bakht (23), HR professional in Delhi, conducted by Deepak Ramachandran and Paul
Artiuch, New Paradigm, April 23, 2007.
33
“The Infosys Campus,” rediff.com, http://specials.rediff.com/money/2004/aug/05sld1.htm.
34
Anand Giridharadas, “In India’s higher education, few prizes for 2nd place,” International Herald Tribune,
November 26, 2006, www.iht.com/articles/2006/11/26/news/india.php?page=1.
35
Interview with Prathibha Sharan, communications and teamwork trainer, Bangalore, conducted by Deepak
Ramachandran, New Paradigm, June 2, 2007.
36
New Paradigm Study of the N-Gen, n=1,750, 13-20 year olds in the U.S. and Canada, 2006 and 2007.
37
Interview with Aditi Bakht (23), HR professional in Delhi, conducted by Deepak Ramachandran and Paul
Artiuch, New Paradigm, April 23, 2007.
38
Ibid.
39
New Paradigm Study of the N-Gen, n=1,750, 13-20 year olds in the U.S. and Canada, 2006 and 2007.

© 2007 New Paradigm Learning Corporation


Harnessing the Global N-Gen Talent Pool 39

40
For more detail on NPTC, see “Human Resource Management Practices at the National Thermal Power
Corporation (NTPC) in India,” ICFAI Center for Management Research, 2005.
41
www.ntpc.co.in/home/index.shtml.
42
www.pmintpc.com/.
43
“The world is your oyster,” The Economist, October 5, 2006,
www.economist.com/surveys/displaystory.cfm?story_id=7961950.
44
Interview with senior executives at Infosys (anonymous), Bangalore, conducted by Deepak Ramachandran, New
Paradigm, June 2, 2007.
45
New Paradigm Study of the N-Gen, n=1,750, 13-20 year olds in the U.S. and Canada, 2006 and 2007.
46
Josey Puliyenthuruthel, “The Other MIT,” BusinessWeek, August 22, 2005,
www.businessweek.com/magazine/content/05_34/b3948482.htm.
47
Andy Mukherjee, “Commentary: Even India needs to widen its software talent pool,” Bloomberg News, January
26, 2005, www.iht.com/articles/2005/01/25/bloomberg/sxmuk.php.
48
“Managing Attrition in the Indian Information Technology Industry,” ICFAI Center for Management Research,
2005.
49
www.pmintpc.com/.
50
Interview with senior executives at Infosys (anonymous), Bangalore, conducted by Deepak Ramachandran, New
Paradigm, June 2, 2007.
51
“Top cos turn training schools,” The Times of India, December 18, 2006,
http://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/NEWS/India_Business/Top_cos_turn_training_schools/articleshow/828373.cms.
52
Raghu Garud and Arun Kumaraswanny, “Infosys: Architecture of a Scalable Corporation,” NYU Stern School of
Business, August 13, 2003, www.infosys.com/about/cases/RGInfosys-case-August2003 percent20final.pdf.
53
Priyanka Bhattacharya, “Meeting The Demand Supply Gap,” BPO Times, June 20, 2007,
www.bpotimes.com/efytimes/fullnewsbpo.asp?edid=16499.
54
Janet Hardy and Bill Gillies, “Attracting and Engaging the N-Gen Employee,” New Paradigm White Paper, Net
Generation, June 2007.
55
Interview with senior executives at Infosys (anonymous), Bangalore, conducted by Deepak Ramachandran, New
Paradigm, June 2, 2007.
56
Interview with Aditi Bakht (23), HR professional in Delhi, conducted by Deepak Ramachandran and Paul
Artiuch, New Paradigm, April 23, 2007.
57
Tuhina Pandey, “IT firms preferring women employees,” NDTV Profit, April 9, 2007,
www.ndtvprofit.com/homepage/storybusinessnew.asp?id=37471&template=.
58
Tejaswi Rathore and Rahul Sachitanand, “Winning Them Over, Engine for Growth, Help, Tarun!” Business
Today, June 4, 2007, www.tmcnet.com/usubmit/2007/06/04/2686407.htm.
59
Interview with Aditi Bakht (23), HR professional in Delhi, conducted by Deepak Ramachandran and Paul
Artiuch, New Paradigm, April 23, 2007.
60
Diana Farrell, and Andrew Grant, “Addressing China’s Looming Talent Shortage,” McKinsey Global Institute,
October 2005, www.mckinsey.com/mgi/reports/pdfs/China_talent/ChinaPerspective.pdf.
61
Ibid.
62
Ibid.
63
New Paradigm Study of the N-Gen, n=1,750, 13-20 year olds in the U.S. and Canada, 2006 and 2007.
64
Interview with Anita Tang (25), HR consultant in Hong Kong, conducted by Deepak Ramachandran and Paul
Artiuch, New Paradigm, April 25, 2007.
65
Interview with Raymond Ling (25), manager at Fookwah in Shenzhen, conducted by Deepak Ramachandran and
Paul Artiuch, New Paradigm, May 14, 2007.
66
“The Hudson Report: Employment and HR Trends in China,” Hudson, January-March 2007.

© 2007 New Paradigm Learning Corporation


Harnessing the Global N-Gen Talent Pool 40

67
Interview with Anita Tang (25), HR consultant in Hong Kong, conducted by Deepak Ramachandran and Paul
Artiuch, New Paradigm, April 25, 2007.
68
“The Hudson Report: Employment and HR Trends in China,” Hudson, January-March 2007.
69
Interview with Anita Tang (25), HR consultant in Hong Kong, conducted by Deepak Ramachandran and Paul
Artiuch, New Paradigm, April 25, 2007.
70
Interview with Raymond Ling (25), manager at Fookwah in Shenzhen, conducted by Deepak Ramachandran and
Paul Artiuch, New Paradigm, May 14, 2007.
71
“The Hudson Report: Employment and HR Trends in China,” Hudson, January-March 2007.
72
Material for this sidebar was collected from the SZHR Web site, www.szhr.com.cn, translated from Chinese by New Paradigm
staff, and interviews with users of the service.
73
David Ticoll and Darren Meister, “Hon Hai: Winning by Design,” New Paradigm, June 2005.
74
Interview with Raymond Ling (25), manager at Fookwah in Shenzhen, conducted by Deepak Ramachandran and Paul Artiuch,
New Paradigm, May 14, 2007.
75
Ibid.
76
Diana Farrell and Andrew Grant, “Addressing China’s Looming Talent Shortage,” McKinsey Global Institute,
October 2005, www.mckinsey.com/mgi/reports/pdfs/China_talent/ChinaPerspective.pdf.
77
Interview with Raymond Ling (25), manager at Fookwah in Shenzhen, conducted by Deepak Ramachandran and
Paul Artiuch, New Paradigm, May 14, 2007.
78
David Ticoll and Phil Hood, “Process Networks: Self-Organization and Open Innovation in the Chinese
Motorcycle Industry,” New Paradigm, March 2006.
79
New Paradigm Study of the N-Gen, n=1,750, 13-20 year olds in the U.S. and Canada, 2006 and 2007.
80
Interview with Raymond Ling (25), manager at Fookwah in Shenzhen, conducted by Deepak Ramachandran and
Paul Artiuch, New Paradigm, May 14, 2007.
81
Ibid.
82
New Paradigm Study of the N-Gen, n=1,750, 13-20 year olds in the U.S. and Canada, 2006 and 2007.
83
Ibid.
84
David Lague, “Chinese paradox: A shallow pool of talent,” International Herald Tribune, April 25, 2006,
www.iht.com/articles/2006/04/24/news/talent.php.
85
“Country Briefings: Philippines and Thailand,” The Economist,
www.economist.com/countries/Philippines/profile.cfm?folder=Profile-FactSheet.
86
“The Emerging Global Labor Market: Part II—The Supply of Offshore Talent in Services,” McKinsey Global Institute, June
2005, www.mckinsey.com/mgi/reports/pdfs/emerginggloballabormarket/Part2/MGI_supply_executivesummary.pdf.
87
Interview with Raymond Ling (25), manager at Fookwah in Shenzhen, conducted by Deepak Ramachandran and
Paul Artiuch, New Paradigm, May 14, 2007.
88
Kelly Proctor and Qiu Tina, “With boom, China faces work force shortages,” Bloomberg News, August 15, 2006,
www.iht.com/articles/2006/08/15/bloomberg/sxoutsource.php.
89
Interview with Raymond Ling (25), manager at Fookwah in Shenzhen, conducted by Deepak Ramachandran and
Paul Artiuch, New Paradigm, May 14, 2007.
90
Ibid.
91
Interview with Anita Tang (25), HR consultant in Hong Kong, conducted by Deepak Ramachandran and Paul
Artiuch, New Paradigm, April 25, 2007.
92
Ian Marriot, Gartner, quoted in “Bad Image Hurts Russian IT Outsourcing,” BusinessWeek, February 16, 2007,
www.businessweek.com/globalbiz/content/feb2007/gb20070216_283171.htm?chan=search.
93
Steve Chase of Intel, quotes in “A Renaissance For Russian Science,” BusinessWeek. Aug 9, 2004.
http://www.businessweek.com/magazine/content/04_32/b3895103_mz018.htm
94
“The Hi-Tech Game,” Kommersant, February 17, 2005, www.kommersant.com/p546996/The_Hi-Tech_Game.
95
“A Renaissance For Russian Science,” BusinessWeek, August 9, 2004,
www.businessweek.com/magazine/content/04_32/b3895103_mz018.htm.

© 2007 New Paradigm Learning Corporation


Harnessing the Global N-Gen Talent Pool 41

96
Dmitry Polikanov, “Staying at Home,” Russia Profile.org, April 13, 2006,
www.russiaprofile.org/page.php?pageid=Themes&cont=Youth+ percent28Issue+3 percent2C+April+2006
percent29&articleid=596.
97
Svetlana Kolchik, “The Dom Perignon Generation,” Russia Profile.org, May 5, 2006,
www.russiaprofile.org/page.php?pageid=Themes&cont=Youth+ percent28Issue+3 percent2C+April+2006
percent29&articleid=2372.
98
Dmitry Polikanov, “Russia’s Youth: Myths and Reality,” Russia Profile.org. April 5, 2006,
www.russiaprofile.org/page.php?pageid=Themes&cont=Youth+ percent28Issue+3 percent2C+April+2006
percent29&articleid=3807.
99
Interview with Edith Balazs (32), wire service analyst in Budapest, conducted by Deepak Ramachandran and Paul
Artiuch, New Paradigm, April 26, 2007.
100
Nataliia Zorkaia and Nadia Diuk, “The Values and Attitudes of Russia’s Young People,” Russian Education and
Society, June 2005,
http://eric.ed.gov/ERICWebPortal/custom/portlets/recordDetails/detailmini.jsp?_nfpb=true&_&ERICExtSearch_Se
archValue_0=EJ695705&ERICExtSearch_SearchType_0=eric_accno&accno=EJ695705.
101
Peter Gumbel, “The New Land of Opportunity,” TIME, April 9, 2006,
www.time.com/time/magazine/article/0,9171,901060417-1181588,00.html.
102
“A sickness of the soul,” The Economist, September 7, 2006,
www.economist.com/research/articlesBySubject/displaystory.cfm?subjectid=549352&story_id=7891259.
103
Svetlana Kolchik, “The Dom Perignon Generation,” Russia Profile.org, May 5, 2006,
www.russiaprofile.org/page.php?pageid=Themes&cont=Youth+ percent28Issue+3 percent2C+April+2006
percent29&articleid=2372.
104
New Paradigm Study of the N-Gen, n=1,750, 13-20 year olds in the U.S. and Canada, 2006 and 2007.
105
Interview with Edith Balazs (32), wire service analyst in Budapest, conducted by Deepak Ramachandran and
Paul Artiuch, New Paradigm, Apr 26, 2007.
106
Interview with Vitaly Gritsenko, CEO of F-Key Solutions, Inc., with employees in Russia, conducted by Deepak
Ramachandran, New Paradigm, June 13, 2007.
107
Ibid.
108
New Paradigm Study of the N-Gen, n=1,750, 13-20 year olds in the U.S. and Canada, 2006 and 2007.
109
Interview with Vitaly Gritsenko, CEO of F-Key Solutions, Inc., with employees in Russia, conducted by Deepak
Ramachandran, New Paradigm, June 13, 2007.
110
Dmitry Polikanov, “Russia’s Youth: Myths and Reality,” Russia Profile.org, April 5, 2006,
www.russiaprofile.org/page.php?pageid=Themes&cont=Youth+ percent28Issue+3 percent2C+April+2006
percent29&articleid=3807.
111
“The reluctant briber,” The Economist, November 2, 2006,
www.economist.com/research/articlesBySubject/displaystory.cfm?subjectid=549352&story_id=8108205.
112
Peter Gumbel, “The New Land of Opportunity,” TIME, April 9, 2006,
www.time.com/time/magazine/article/0,9171,901060417-1181588,00.html.
113
New Paradigm Study of the N-Gen, n=1,750, 13-20 year olds in the U.S. and Canada, 2006 and 2007.
114
William Kole, “As wage rise in Eastern Europe, businesses look elsewhere,” The Associated Press, April 4,
2007, www.iht.com/articles/2007/04/04/business/east.php.
115
“Russia’s Regions: Goals, Challenges, and Achievements,” United Nations Development Programme, May 15,
2007, www.undp.ru/index.phtml?iso=RU&lid=1&cmd=publications1&id=48.
116
“The Emerging Global Labor Market: Part II—The Supply of Offshore Talent in Services,” McKinsey Global
Institute, June 2005,
www.mckinsey.com/mgi/reports/pdfs/emerginggloballabormarket/Part2/MGI_supply_executivesummary.pdf.
117
Interview with Vitaly Gritsenko, CEO of F-Key Solutions, Inc., with employees in Russia, conducted by Deepak
Ramachandran, New Paradigm, June 13, 2007.

© 2007 New Paradigm Learning Corporation


Harnessing the Global N-Gen Talent Pool 42

118
“A Renaissance For Russian Science,” BusinessWeek, August 9, 2004,
www.businessweek.com/magazine/content/04_32/b3895103_mz018.htm.
119
Sanjukta Mukherjee, “Comparing Russia and India: Education and the Development of the Technology Sector,”
Russia Profile.org, May 22, 2007, www.russiaprofile.org/page.php?pageid=Business&articleid=a1179811894.
120
Interview with Vitaly Gritsenko, CEO of F-Key Solutions, Inc., with employees in Russia, conducted by Deepak
Ramachandran, New Paradigm, June 13, 2007.
121
Ibid.
122
Interview with Pawel Lewandowski (25), finance professional in London, conducted by Deepak Ramachandran
and Paul Artiuch, New Paradigm, May 7, 2007.
123
Mikhail Grachev, Nikolai Rogovsky, and Mariya Bobina, “3M: Role Model for Emerging Markets,”
Thunderbird International Business Review, November-December 2006.
124
Interview with Edith Balazs (32), wire service analyst in Budapest, conducted by Deepak Ramachandran and
Paul Artiuch, New Paradigm, April 26, 2007.
125
Victoria Petrova, of Rusal, quoted in “HR’s shining tsar,” Personnel Today, August 30, 2005.
126
“The blessings of stability,” The Economist, April 12, 2007,
www.economist.com/surveys/displaystory.cfm?story_id=8952520.
127
Mark Weisbrot, “Latin America’s Stunted Growth,” BusinessWeek, June 15, 2004,
www.businessweek.com/bwdaily/dnflash/jun2004/nf20040615_8558_db046.htm.
128
“Heavy going,” The Economist, April 12, 2007,
www.economist.com/surveys/displaystory.cfm?story_id=8952533.
129
Diana Farrell and Jaana Remes, “Tapping Latin America’s potential in services,” The McKinsey Quarterly, June
19, 2007, www.mckinseyquarterly.com/article_page.aspx?ar=1968.
130
Roberto Fantoni, “Checking Latin America’s vital signs,” The McKinsey Quarterly, June 19, 2007,
www.mckinseyquarterly.com/article_page.aspx?ar=1953.
131
“Low marks,” The Economist, April 12, 2007,
www.economist.com/surveys/displaystory.cfm?story_id=8952561.
132
Interview with Samia Cury (25), project manager in Sao Paulo, conducted by Deepak Ramachandran and Paul
Artiuch, New Paradigm, April 25, 2007.
133
Ibid.
134
New Paradigm Study of the N-Gen, n=1,750, 13-20 year olds in the U.S. and Canada, 2006 and 2007.
135
Nadira Hira, “Attracting the twentysomething worker,” Fortune, May 15, 2007,
http://money.cnn.com/magazines/fortune/fortune_archive/2007/05/28/100033934/.
136
Interview with Samia Cury (25), project manager in Sao Paulo, conducted by Deepak Ramachandran and Paul
Artiuch, New Paradigm, April 25, 2007.
137
Global N-Gen survey conducted by New Paradigm and Crux Research, June 2007.
138
UNESCO Institute for Statistics. See: www.uis.unesco.org/ev_en.php?ID=2867_201&ID2=DO_TOPIC.
139
“The economy of heat,” The Economist, April 12, 2007,
www.economist.com/surveys/displaystory.cfm?story_id=8952496.
140
New Paradigm Study of the N-Gen, n=1,750, 13-20 year olds in the U.S. and Canada, 2006 and 2007.
141
Ibid.
142
Interview with Samia Cury (25), project manager in Sao Paulo, conducted by Deepak Ramachandran and Paul
Artiuch, New Paradigm, April 25, 2007.
143
New Paradigm Study of the N-Gen, n=1,750, 13-20 year olds in the U.S. and Canada, 2006 and 2007.
144
Ibid.
145
Interview with Samia Cury (25), project manager in Sao Paulo, conducted by Deepak Ramachandran and Paul
Artiuch, New Paradigm, April 25, 2007.
146
See OECD statistics: www.oecd.org/statsportal/0,3352,en_2825_293564_1_1_1_1_1,00.html.

© 2007 New Paradigm Learning Corporation


Harnessing the Global N-Gen Talent Pool 43

147
Interview with Samia Cury (25), project manager in Sao Paulo, conducted by Deepak Ramachandran and Paul
Artiuch, New Paradigm, April 25, 2007.
148
Interview with Monica Aguilar (25), manager in Chihuahua, conducted by Paul Artiuch, New Paradigm, May 23,
2007.
149
Geri Smith, “Embraer Helps to Educate Brazil,” BusinessWeek, July 31, 2006,
www.businessweek.com/magazine/content/06_31/b3995013.htm?chan=search.
150
Interview with Monica Aguilar (25), manager in Chihuahua, conducted by Paul Artiuch, New Paradigm, May 23,
2007.
151
Interview with Samia Cury (25), project manager in Sao Paulo, conducted by Deepak Ramachandran and Paul
Artiuch, New Paradigm, April 25, 2007.
152
Don Tapscott, Robert Barnard, and Samir Khan, “Talent 2.0: The Net Generation and the World of Work,” New
Paradigm White Paper, Net Generation, October 2006.

© 2007 New Paradigm Learning Corporation


The 8 Norms of the Net Generation
New Paradigm has identified certain normative attitudes and behaviors endemic to the N-Gen, which
differentiate them from previous generations. These norms have become part of the vernacular of marketing.
Freedom
To an N-Gener, choice is like oxygen. With the proliferation of media, sales channels, product types, and brands,
N-Geners leverage technology to cut through the clutter and find the products that fit their needs. They expect to
choose where and when they work; to be able to use technology to escape traditional office space and hours; and to
integrate their home and social lives with their work lives.
Customization
N-Geners have grown up using media they can customize. With their own blogs and Web sites, personalized cell
phones, TiVo, Slingbox, and podcasts, they get the media and information they want, when and where they want it,
and alter it to fit their unique needs and desires. They want to be able to customize their workplace—doing things
like helping improve work processes and having input into their own job descriptions.
Scrutinizers
They are the new scrutinizers. Older generations marvel at the consumer research available on the Internet:
N-Geners expect it, and as they grow older, their online engagement increases. N-Geners know that their market
power allows them to demand more of companies. As employees they demand trusting and transparent relationships
with the companies they work for.
Integrity
When deciding what to buy and where to work, they look for corporate integrity and openness. Whether they are
exposing a flawed viral marketing campaign or researching a future employer, N-Geners make sure a company's
values align with their own.
Collaboration
Unlike their TV generation parents, N-Geners interact with media and with others through media. They collaborate
online in chat groups, play multi-user video games, use email and share files for school, work, or just for fun. They
influence each other through "N-Fluence Networks," where among other things, they discuss brands, companies,
products and services. Marketers must recognize that there is more to the consumer relationship than brand recognition.
Having grown up being authorities on something important, they have a different view of authority in the workplace.
Entertainment
N-Geners want their work, education, and social life to be fun and entertaining. They bring a playful attitude to work—
they know that there's always more than one way to achieve a goal, just like in the latest video game. They seek
entertaining experiences in products and services. Workplaces must be fun—as work, learning, collaboration and
entertainment are for the first time inseparable.
Speed
N-Geners need speed—and not just in video games. In a world where information flows rapidly among vast networks
of people, communication with friends, colleagues, and bosses takes place faster than ever. Marketers and employers
should realize that N-Geners expect the same quick communication in return—every instant message should draw
an instant response. N-Geners are speeding up the metabolism of business—for the good.
Innovation
For N-Geners, digital tools have encouraged and facilitated innovation in all aspects of their lives. Marketers reach
them in increasingly creative ways, while N-Gen business leaders have literally changed entire industries. Their need
to innovate challenges established norms, some of which will need to be adapted, and some to which N-Gen will
need to adapt.
This report is an analysis of a Big Idea, presented as part of New Paradigm's Net Generation: Strategic Investigation Program.
The program, sponsored by leading companies such as yours, is investigating the impact of the Net Generation in the marketplace
and the workplace.
Don Tapscott: Chief Executive
Joan Bigham: Executive Vice President, Strategy and Business Development
Mike Dover: Vice President, Syndicated Research
Anthony Williams: Vice President and Executive Editor
John Geraci: Program Manager, Net Gen Global Investigation
© 2007 New Paradigm Learning Corporation. Reproduction by any means or disclosure to parties who are not employees of Net
Generation: Strategic Investigation member organizations or wholly-owned subsidiaries is prohibited.

The Net Generation: Strategic Investigation research program membership includes unlimited free access to a
secure web site where the research team project plans and research publications are posted for member review
and feedback. Please visit www.newparadigm.com for information. For more information, please contact
Joan Bigham at jrbigham@newparadigm.com or (860) 536-6693.
Harnessing the Global
N-Gen Talent Pool

www.newparadigm.com