Adapt to Survive

How better alignment between talent and opportunity can drive economic growth

A global study by PwC into the value gained by a better talent fit
PWC | Commissioned by LinkedIn
What is adaptable talent?

There are two essential ingredients to adaptability. First the ability of employers to look differently at sources of talent. This means investigating new geographies and sectors as sources of new talent as well as investing in existing employees, equipping them with the necessary skills and motivating them to adapt to meet new challenges. Secondly of course, this requires willing individuals who are prepared to embrace change and apply their skills somewhere new. In order to assess adaptability in a particular market we need to look at both sides of the equation.

We've used LinkedIn and PwC Saratoga data to assess the primary indicators of an adaptable market including the rate at which people switch between roles and sectors, the rate at which they're promoted and the number of jobs left open in a market.1 The resulting Talent Adaptability Score, which measures the adaptability of the 11 countries we researched side by side, shows a wide variety in adaptability across geographic markets, with the Netherlands coming out on top and China and India ranking lowest.

Why are some countries more adaptable than others?

The Talent Adaptability Score for each country can be explained to some extent by variations in policy - employment or visa legislation - as well as less quantifiable, but no less important, cultural differences such as people's willingness to relocate for work. These differences are compounded by each country's development stage.

The lower scores of Brazil, India and China may be explained in part by a lack of sector diversity - in developing markets a small number of sectors tend to dominate the workplace and so skills tend to be more concentrated. Net migration is also influential; Brazil, India and China have seen more people leave their nations than arrive in recent years,2 although this may slow or even reverse as their domestic economies continue to develop.

Key Takeaways

Adaptability unlocks up to USD130 billion in additional productivity Markets with the most adaptable talent are more efficient and productive - a better talent fit between employer and employee results in a greater return on an organisation's investment in people, unlocking USD130 billion of additional productivity for the 11 countries covered in this report.

The skills gap will narrow with increased adaptability Worldwide unemployment continues to rise while jobs go unfilled. Half of all CEOs globally intend to increase their headcount over the next year, but 63% are worried about the availability of key skills. As talented people become more adaptable, the skills gap will shrink, leading to better economic performance.

Compromising on talent costs the global economy In less adaptable talent markets, poorly matched candidates drive up recruitment costs associated with hiring and onboarding people. The hiring process takes longer and recruits don't stay. This creates a cost burden of USD19.8 billion a year for the 11 countries covered in this report.

Visibility from online professional networks leads to better hiring Online professional networks give organisations access to a larger talent pool and critically, to passive candidates as well as those actively looking for a job. Similarly, talented people can explore well beyond their own borders and have access to far more information on potential employers.

About the Publisher

Published by PWC

PwC helps organisations and individuals create the value they're looking for. We're a network of firms in 157 countries with more than 184,000 people who are committed to delivering quality in assurance, tax and advisory services. Tell us what matters to you and find out more by visiting us at

Publish Date

October 2021