The ‘battle for talent’ is a long-term trend that will transcend the business cycle

August 9, 2022, 9:56 AM UTC
Updated August 9, 2022, 4:50 PM UTC
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Good morning.

These are strange economic times. In the U.S., recent government statistics say GDP shrank for two quarters in a row—traditionally, a sign of recession. Yet Friday’s labor report showed employment grew by more than half a million—symptomatic of a boom. 

So what’s going on? I don’t have the answer. But I do believe the so-called battle for talent is a long-term trend that will transcend the business cycle. At Fortune, we’ve seen it play out over the 25 years we’ve been publishing our 100 Best Companies to Work For list. Each year, competition to make the list gets more intense. In Tomorrow’s Capitalist (order here), I cite a statistic that helped me understand the change: 50 years ago, more than 80% of the value reflected on the balance sheets of Fortune 500 companies was physical stuff—plant, equipment, oil in the ground, inventory on the shelves. Today, more than 85% of the value on the balance sheets of Fortune 500 companies is “intangibles”—intellectual property, brand value, and a host of things more closely tied to human capital than to physical and financial capital. People are today’s value drivers.

That’s why Fortune last week launched a new newsletter, the CHRO Daily, sponsored by ServiceNow and written by Amber Burton. In yesterday’s newsletter, Amber wrote about the elevation of the chief learning officer at corporations. L&D (learning and development) departments used to be purveyors “of onboarding and mandatory compliance trainings,” she wrote. But today “cultivating and upskilling talent” is becoming increasingly core to business strategy.

Interested? You can get a taste of topics here and sign up here. Let me rephrase that: You should sign up here. Anyone who thinks the much-prophesied recession will end the talent wars is missing the big picture.

News below.

Alan Murray


Dreamliner deliveries

Boeing is about to resume deliveries of its 787 Dreamliner. The Federal Aviation Administration has green-lit the move following changes made by Boeing to meet certification standards, and American Airlines is expecting to take delivery of the long-haul plane as soon as tomorrow. Dreamliner deliveries have been largely paused since the fall of 2020, when production defects were discovered. Wall Street Journal

Novavax disappointment

Novavax, which took $1.6 billion in Operation Warp Speed funding, has administered all of 7,300 COVID-vaccine jabs in the U.S. The Maryland-based company massively disappointed Wall Street with its quarterly results yesterday ($186 million rather than an expected $1 billion), and its shares were down 30% in after-hours trading. CEO Stanley Erck blamed a current glut in vaccine doses. Fortune

Trump raid

FBI agents yesterday raided the residence of former U.S. President Donald Trump, reportedly in connection with an investigation into his handling of classified information. The Mar-a-Lago raid, which elicited an instant outcry from Republicans, was likely authorized at the highest levels of the Justice Department. Trump himself was in New York at the time of the agents’ visit. Financial Times


The EU is calling natural gas ‘green,’ but critics aren’t buying it, by Laurie Clarke

Nasdaq’s new rule on board diversity is a good first step, not a gold standard, by Aracely Muñoz

The 4 most recession-proof industries to work in, according to LinkedIn, by Chloe Berger

Meet the ‘demon stock’: Chinese investors have coined their own name for stocks that defy logic, by Nicholas Gordon

As metaverse land prices plummet, Mark Cuban says buying digital land is ‘the dumbest sh*t ever’, by Marco Quiroz-Gutierrez

This edition of CEO Daily was edited by David Meyer.

This is the web version of CEO Daily, a newsletter of must-read insights from Fortune CEO Alan Murray. Sign up to get it delivered free to your inbox.

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