Here’s one that might surprise you. Women in Brazil, Russia, India and China (the BRIC countries) and the UAE make up half the university graduates and half the workforce in these fast-growing regions. Most of the news that Americans get about these countries focuses on the rich/poor chasm or women financing their way out of poverty one micro-grant at a time. But the authors of Winning the War for Talent in Emerging Markets (HBR Press 2011) say there’s more to the story: women are the key to prosperity in these emerging markets. Some of the best U.S.-based companies are tapping into that declaration. Check out an interview with the authors here. Among the lessons learned by the likes of Google, Goldman Sachs, Siemens and PepsiCo: Eldercare benefits trump child care due to extended-family living arrangements. (This might be a great way to retain multicultural talent in the U.S. as well.) The best conference calls move their “start clocks” around the world to share the time zone pain. And the most successful companies are moving fast on flextime in those cities that are growing faster than their infrastructure. (Your worst commute in the U.S. can’t compare to the recent 60-mile, week-long snarl outside Beijing.)

The authors contend that BRIC and UAE markets are “blank slates” for human capital models. I’d say that’s a stretch. Even so, the interview is worth a read for any CCO whose company is or will be doing business in emerging markets and who regularly talks talent with their counterparts in HR.

Lynn Casey
Chair and Chief Executive Officer
Padilla Speer Beardsley