Two decades ago, McKinsey researchers saw a “war for talent” brewing. Looking at current trends, two experts see no victors.

This story reflects the views of these authors, but not necessarily the editorial position of Fast Company.

In 1998, after a year-long study on the subject, McKinsey researchers declared that a “war for talent” was underway. In the years ahead, they said, organizations’ future success would depend on how well they could attract, develop, and retain talented employees–an ever more valuable asset in ever higher demand.Instead of winning a war for talent, organizations appear to be waging a war on talent, repelling and alienating employees more successfully than harnessing their skills.Today, in a world full of many more Chief People and Chief Happiness Officers, that war nevertheless appears to have been lost on all sides. Of course, many workers excel in their jobs and make pivotal contributions to their organizations. But for every one employee who does, there are many more who are underemployed, underperforming, and just plain miserable at work.

What went wrong?

THE RISE OF PASSIVE JOBSEEKERS

More people than ever are dissatisfied with their current ones enough to consider other opportunities. Over the past few years, LinkedIn has estimated that figure at anywhere between 45% and 60% of its more than 400 million users. Some recruiters believe these so-called “passive jobseekers” now comprise up to 75% of the overall workforce. Just imagine if three out of four people in long-term relationships were still holding out for a better option to come along.

Read all: The War For Talent Is Over, And Everyone Lost | Fast Company

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