Phil Blair along with Mel Katz operate some of the most successful Manpower offices in our operations. This book captures the philosophy and integrity that fuel their success. This is a great book for anyone at any stage of their career written by someone who has placed hundreds of thousands of people into jobs…and careers.”

Jeff Joerres
Chairman and CEO
Manpower Group

The world is facing a new reality. We are entering (or maybe we are in it now) what some people are calling the “Human Age.” Human potential will be the next major agent of economic growth. But what does this mean to you and me? What it means to us is that we need to take stock of our strengths, weaknesses, career advantages and career disadvantages.

We need to be very clear with ourselves what these four are and how to emphasize the strengths and equally important how to downplay our weaknesses. If we have a great education, how do we use that education (engineer) to be our trump card over other people for the job? If we have a weakness (DUI or criminal record), how do we sell to employers that we may well be an even better employee than the next guy? If appearance is key to our career path (sales), how do we get a face to face with the hiring influencer? And if we have no finance experience, how do we get the promotion (project manager) without this experience?

I want you to understand how companies are thinking and how they see their hiring needs changing in the ensuing years. Not just what skills they think they will be hiring, but also the personality traits that they see as essential for their workforce to support their company’s goals into the future. You, as employees managing your own careers, need to know where and how you fit into the Human Age. And especially how you play it to your advantage.

Understand how employers are thinking and where the economy is going, and you are way ahead of the competition. In the past, human ingenuity, endeavor and innovation led us to a new technology or a new way of organizing the world. We called these “eras.” Eras were defined first by the raw materials our ancestors bent to their will—the Stone Age, Iron Age and Bronze Age. Then the eras were characterized by the domains people conquered, usually by improving technology—the Industrial Age, the Space Age and the Information Age. Now, people much smarter than I predict it will be “human potential” that will be the catalyst for change — economically, politically and socially. In this new reality, people and their talents and skills are rising to the challenge, taking their rightful place at center stage, as the world’s source of inspiration and innovation. Thus, the “Human Age.”

Epic shifts are moving the world into the Human Age. At Manpower Group, the corporate headquarters for our Manpower franchises, strategic planners are adapting to a new paradigm. They are clearly ahead of the curve in their thinking. Global economic forces have strained existing systems to such a point that they are no longer sustainable. These forces are now simultaneously converging, forcing societies and political and economic systems to involuntarily adapt. Corporations all over the world are evolving their strategies and structures as they relate to how they staff their business functions, therefore driving their decisions for when, why and, most importantly, who they hire.

The inescapable pressure of international competition is forcing companies to do more with less and has awakened employers to the true power of human potential. They know that with the right people in the right places at the right time, companies can achieve all they did before, and more. But to do this, employers need to ensure that they have the right workforce models and people practices in place to attract and retain the best employees.

The demand for specific skills and behaviors is outstripping our supply and training capacity. Talent is becoming increasingly difficult to find, creating a mismatch between the talent that is available and the talent that employers are demanding. This is why the paradox of high levels of unemployment and high levels of job vacancies can coexist. Talent isn’t just numbers of people. It’s having people with the specific skills and behaviors that allow companies to excel in a chaotic, global environment.

To thrive and grow, companies and governments will need to engage and motivate older workers with needed skills to remain in the workforce longer, while finding a way to engage and train our youth. We need to align training and education systems with the skill sets required by employers. Individuals will be challenged to maintain a “learning mindset” to ensure they continue to develop their human potential throughout their ever-changing careers.

Lifelong learning is mandatory.

As the Human Age evolves, we will see talent and human potential replace capital as the new dominant resource. Look at the chart that follows to see all the changes. I want you to know the thinking behind corporate initiatives and policies so you understand where companies are coming from when their expectations seem peculiar or unreasonable. Once you are aware of the changes coming your way you will be better equipped to apply the practices in this book to make sure you are the talent-filled individual that companies will crave. You will be in control of your destiny. And you will be the one who gets to say, “Job Won!”