It is interesting how many different variations exist on the theme of 'poaching from one to meet another’s need' in Workforce Planning: the approach of 'poaching' resources (en masse) from one country to another (eg, Eastern European to UK, Australia to Canada) or from one industry to another (Construction to Mining); within industry, from one organisation to the other (common practice that leads to wage wars); and even within an organisation, from one department to another.

Recent events in Silicon Valley (think circling vultures, the struggling Yahoo! Search engine and a hostile Microsoft takeover bid) have highlighted just how widespread the practice described by Dr John Sullivan as “Aggressive Talent Poaching in Bathrooms and Parking Lots” has become in the modern competitive business environment. Dr Sullivan estimates that around 75% of key hires in major firms are directly recruited away from other talent competitors, or in other words, poached. And what’s more, poaching is a global phenomenon, with emerging economic superpowers China and India leading the way. Just about anywhere there is competition, there is poaching.

Which raises a very important question for us at Aruspex: if everybody is doing it, does that mean that it works? Is poaching an inevitable solution to your organisation’s talent problems?

Our take is that while poaching has its place it really is only a short-term stop-gap approach to the talent crises of today with ageing workforce and labor shortages. True strategic workforce planning incorporates long-term solutions to talent management and initiatives such as the MISC Heart Beat Project, the subject of our most recent case study ( , presents the value in a cooperative industry-wide model that allows organisations to collectively see the big picture - to develop long-term sustainable resource pipelines for their industry. This is a true strategy that combats the issues of spiraling salaries, productivity reductions as people ‘chop and change’ and restrained industry prosperity because there are not enough qualified people.

What do you think? Is ‘robbing Peter to pay Paul’ a solution to talent crises?