This paper presents a typology exploring employers’ perceptions of the quality of available applicants and employers decisions to buy qualified staff vs. to hire available workers and then make i.e. develop them via employer-supported training.
This study uses 2015 survey data from Southwestern Ontario, Canada, based on responses from 834 employers regarding their hiring, separations, training and other HRM policies.
Among surveyed employers, 10% are “Reliants” who found the quality of available applicants to be low, yet these employers do not provide employee training. Almost half of employers (at 45%) are “Developers” who find the quality of applicants to be low but they do provide employee training. Approximately, 7% of employers are “Poachers” who find that the quality of applicants is high and do not provide employee training, while 38% are Refiners, who find the quality of applicants is high and they provide employee training.
Employers need to make their training decisions in alignment with their assessment of the quality of job applicants to whom they have access. In this paper, decisions on training and applicant quality are considered concurrently. From an academic viewpoint, the findings raise the issue as to whether other stakeholders (such as educational institutions) are sufficiently helping individuals gain the skills, credentials and work experiences that employers are seeking. If job openings are remaining unfilled because employers are unwilling to hire those available, then applicants lose, employers lose and societies lose.
The authors gratefully acknowledge the role played by participating management teams within Workforce Planning Boards within Southwestern Ontario, Canada. This paper would not have been possible without their determination and initiative to collect and analyze the survey data used in this study.
Cooke, G.B., Chowhan, J., Mac Donald, K. and Mann, S. (2022), "Talent management: four “buying versus making” talent development approaches", Personnel Review, Vol. 51 No. 9, pp. 2181-2200. https://doi.org/10.1108/PR-08-2020-0621
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