Knowledge Class Rules War for Talent

The War for Talent

In the beginning the most valuable resource was land.  The Land Run of 1889 in Oklahoma is a fine example.  Sooners snuck over the line staking their claim on the most valuable asset.  Because he who controlled the land, ruled the world.  And by controlled I mean, farm, cultivate, and build.  But over the last hundred years the game has changed.  There was the Industrial Revolution where capital and machinery was king.  Unions entered to provide the working class with the opportunity to negotiate rights like workplace safety, benefits, and income.  Acting as a form of a balance for the working class.  The world became automated, an assembly line, and once again the things changed.

Knowledge Class Rules War for Talent

The Knowledge Revolution is now upon us where he who has the knowledge makes the rules.  The Knowledge Class are in high demand even in our most recent recession.  Highly skilled and qualified candidates are hard to come by as positions and job requirements become more specialized and specific.  The war for talent really is the talent gap.

Those within the knowledge class control their destiny and control the job marketplace.  Silicon Valley is part of the driving force as technology and social media are driving this new era.  By 2015, 60% of the jobs being created will require a specialized skill held by only 20% of the workforce.  But this talent gap is more than just engineers.  It’s has global reach impacting countries as well as industries.

You can see from the graphic above that the talent gap is effecting nations and companies as well as industries across the globe.  And as our economies and relationships become more wide spread outside of our own nations, this trend is likely to continue.

Aside from hiring those specialized 20%, members of the Knowledge Class who are qualified for those key positions, the secret lies in developing candidate pipelines and solid employee growth strategies helping to develop current, engaged, and loyal employees in different ways.  Theses two solutions are both long term solutions that companies must consider putting in place within their organizations before 2015 even if we are amongst a double dip recession.  We simply can’t wait.

How will your organization adapt?  How will you train your internal employees while also establishing long-standing relationships with candidates to fill positions in the long term?  And by long term I mean 5, 7,10, and 15 years into the future?  Is your organization, your front line managers, and your recruiting team prepared for the challenge?  If not, where do we start?

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Jessica Miller-Merrell

Learn more about Jessica Miller-Merrell, SPHR, SHRM-SCP, the founder of Workology, a workplace HR resource, and the host of the Workology Podcast. More of her blogs can be found here.

Reader Interactions


  1. Jeff Hester says

    Interesting article. I read recently that the demand for expertise will continue to grow, and some are speculating that for experts, the best opportunity is in being a hired gun (rather than an employee).

  2. Debra Eckerling says

    Agreed. Expertise really makes a difference, especially in these days of social media and ongoing connectivity! Will be interesting to see how the trend grows event more.


  1. […] One of the hottest industries right now is tech.  Engineers, coders, and developers in California’s Silicon Valley are in high demand with median annual salaries at $105,000.  Companies like Apple, Google, Adobe, Intuit, and Lucas Films are struggling to keep up as companies cherry pick from one another increasing competition and inflating salary and employee perks in the war for talent.  These highly skills and sought after candidates are what I call the Knowledge Class. […]


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