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What talent wants: the journey to talent segmentation

Lesley Uren (Director of Consulting at Jackson Samuel, London, UK)

Strategic HR Review

ISSN: 1475-4398

Article publication date: 18 October 2011




The purpose of this paper is to understand what talent management might need to look like to meet the future needs of organizations and the requirements of the upcoming generation of talented individuals. The author, from specialist consulting and executive search firm Jackson Samuel, shares findings into how organizations can improve their performance by adopting a more strategic and personalized approach to talent management.


Jackson Samuel spoke to senior HR people from 44 companies based in the UK and internationally, and also to 110 talented individuals across the length of the talent pipeline – university students, graduate trainees, middle managers and more senior talented executives. Focus groups and in‐depth interviews were conducted and questionnaires were completed. Analysis involved a combination of both quantitative and qualitative methods and market segmentation.


Businesses can significantly improve their bottom‐line performance by using a segmented approach to talent management.


The research shows that organizations that understand what their most talented individuals want from their relationship with their employer, and then segment their talent population and differentiate the Employee Value Proposition (EVP) for them, deliver up to 66 percent higher total shareholder return (over a five‐year period) than those organizations that do not.

Practical implications

Talent segmentation will allow organizations to get a greater degree of differentiation in the following pragmatic and simple ways: it helps an organization choose who to focus on (key value‐generating talent) and to create definitions for these different populations of talent; and it enables organizations to really understand what the talented individuals within each population want from their relationship with the organization.



Uren, L. (2011), "What talent wants: the journey to talent segmentation", Strategic HR Review, Vol. 10 No. 6, pp. 31-37.



Emerald Group Publishing Limited

Copyright © 2011, Emerald Group Publishing Limited

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