The Next Big Talent Source?

December 7, 2006

The world knows that India is the current talent hotbed. With the largest population of workers in the world, a strong educational system and skilled professionals across a diverse range of industries, India is, not surprisingly, the top spot for outsourcing and offshoring. It is also a prime hunting ground for many global businesses seeking senior-level business talent.

As the whole world seems to be looking for talent in India, the Indian talent pool is starting to buckle under the strain. Take for example Google’s recent snatch of Yahoo! India’s CTO. The talent pool is very tight when two global Internet powerhouses are wrestling for the same leaders. At, Saritha Rai recaps Google’s snatch and offers some interesting insight into India’s talent demand challenges, noting that “…its (India’s) top executives are being wooed from all directions as its economy booms…”
So with talent beginning to run thin in what once seemed to be the world’s endless source of skilled professionals, where will the world turn to next? While many would without thought say that China–the next giant global economy–will be next, I am going to beg to differ.
While China is growing fast and the population is enormous, I believe the country’s skill and talent development capabilities are still far behind the benchmark set by India. China’s talent pool has increased by 10% in the last year, which is good but nowhere near as impressive as the 25% annual growth rate seen in Vietnam. Smaller, aggressively developing countries like Vietnam are doing an outstanding job of cultivating talent by expanding education and learning opportunities, encouraging students to pursue science, math, IT and business degrees and courting leading global businesses.
I have seen firsthand the amazing transformation of Vietnam as its government, universities and businesses work to make the country center of commerce and a new corridor of IT and science innovation for Asia. I believe it is the world’s up-and-coming source of skilled talent–one that able to deliver the caliber of talent India offers.
Evidence of Vietnam’s rapidly growing influence in the global economy is in the U.S. Congress this week. The Vietnam trade bill, which could significantly reduce restrictions on trade with Vietnam, is once again up for consideration in the U.S House of Representatives. Let’s see what happens…