The Global Talent CrunchDetailed methodology

The Korn Ferry Global Talent Crunch report is based on economic modeling designed by Korn Ferry, Man Bites Dog, and Oxford Analytica and executed by Oxford Analytica.

The Global Talent CrunchDetailed methodology

The Korn Ferry Global Talent Crunch report is based on economic modeling designed by Korn Ferry, Man Bites Dog, and Oxford Analytica and executed by Oxford Analytica.

The gap between talent supply and demand.

The talent crunch is the gap between the likely demand for staff and projections of skill availability at three key future milestones: 2020, 2025, and 2030. To calculate this, we forecast the talent needs of the following three knowledge-intensive sectors:


Financial and business services, including financial services, insurance, and real estate.


Technology, media, and telecommunications, including information and communication technology, publishing, broadcasting, and telecommunications.


Manufacturing, including industrial and consumer packaged goods and life sciences.


We model each industry’s share of the economy, taking into account factors such as per-capita income, export position, and natural resource endowments. We use OECD long-term forecasts for some of these correlations, allowing us to derive the sector’s share of the economy at our key future milestones. To establish the size of the economy itself, we forecast the compound annual growth rate (CAGR) for the 2018 to 20 period based on the 2000 to 2015 CAGR’s relationship with world trade growth, starting level of GDP per capita, growth in government expenditure, and oil rents per GDP. We forecast the educational level of the demanded workforce using known data that we project into the future.

To establish labor supply, we use International Labour Organization (ILO) projections of the available labor force to 2030. These take into account demographic forecasts and projections for migration (both into and out of the country), as well as the likely labor-force participation rate. We then estimate the proportion of the population that’s educated to our three education levels (described on the next page) and we overlay the labor-force participation rate for each of these education levels. Estimates are informed by known proportions for a wide variety of countries over several decades, which we project into the future.

Skill level Description International Standard Classification of Education (ISCED) 2011 categories
Level A Highly skilled workers Post-secondary education, such as college or university, or a high-level trade college qualification Categories 5-8
Level B Mid-skilled workers Upper secondary education, such as high school, or a low-level trade college qualification Categories 3-4
Level C Low-skilled workers Lower secondary education (middle school) or less Categories 0-2
Skill level Description
Level A Highly skilled workers Post-secondary education, such as college or university, or a high-level trade college qualification
Level B Mid-skilled workers Upper secondary education, such as high school, or a low-level trade college qualification
Level C Low-skilled workers Lower secondary education (middle school) or less
Skill level International Standard Classification of Education (ISCED) 2011 categories
Level A Highly skilled workers Categories 5-8
Level B Mid-skilled workers Categories 3-4
Level C Low-skilled workers Categories 0-2

We derive the number of required workers by dividing the sector’s value-added output by the productivity rate (the value added per worker). There are various factors and variables to take into account here, including the fact that developing economies tend to experience faster rates of productivity growth than developed economies. Our productivity growth assumption is therefore based on sector averages from 2000-2015 (CAGR), with different rates for developing and developed economies, and broken into high-performing and low-performing groups (see Appendix).

Quantifying the gap between supply and demand.

In order to distribute the available labor force to the three sectors, we need to assert a productivity growth rate for the rest of the economy. The rest of the economy exhibits lower productivity than the sectors we’re focusing on, because the three sectors are internationally tradable, whereas the rest of the economy will be characterized by a mixture of traded and non-traded activities.

On the assumption of labor mobility between sectors, we allocate available labor at each skill level to the proportionate need by sector. The labor-demand share of each sector is the share of available labor force allocated to each sector, and the talent gap arises from shortfalls.

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Understand the talent crunch