The Global Talent crunch

The Global Talent Crunch used world-first economic modelling to forecast the mismatch between skilled talent supply and demand in 20 global markets – threatening $8.5 trillion in lost annual GDP.


Korn Ferry, the global executive search firm, challenged Man Bites Dog to create a global C-suite thought leadership campaign to substantiate its new brand positioning as an organisational consultancy offering more than executive search.

The threat of disruptive innovation and claims that AI would lead to significant job losses had promoted technology to the top of the boardroom agenda and relegated talent to the bottom, meaning we needed to create a compelling reason for business leaders to talk to Korn Ferry. 

Using our 4D strategic ideas framework, Man Bites Dog identified the opportunity to challenge business leaders’ ‘talent blindspot’. We hypothesised that globalisation, demographics and the growth of knowledge-intensive industries would mean that corporates in major markets would struggle to find the skilled talent on which their future depends. Far from looking forward to a technology-enabled talent surplus, business leaders were sleepwalking into the world’s first truly global talent crunch.


Man Bites Dog examined 20 major developed and developing economies to forecast the scale, impact and timing of the talent crunch – the next threat to hit global organisations and economies alike – demonstrating that talent should be at the heart of business strategy.

We created a three-stage content programme which mapped to Korn Ferry’s services to highlight their expert consulting capabilities and generate profitable C-suite conversations.

Peak One: The Global Talent Crunch – Man Bites Dog challenged the accepted model of labour economics, which assumes supply will always keep pace with demand, and invented a groundbreaking new economic model. This generated data to support a powerful call to action for Korn Ferry’s talent consulting services by revealing a shortage of 85.2 million skilled workers globally by 2030, threatening $8.5 trillion in lost annual GDP (equivalent to the combined GDP of Germany and Japan).

Peak Two: The Salary Surge – Showcased Korn Ferry’s reward capabilities by uncovering a demand-driven $2.5 trillion rise in annual payrolls globally by 2030, threatening companies’ profitability.

Peak Three: The Talent Shift – Promoted Korn Ferry’s strategic workforce planning services by using Man Bites Dog’s global opinion research to highlight leaders’ complacency as business growth plans ignore the looming talent shortage: just one in 10 organisations have a long-term talent plan. 

To generate sustained impact, Man Bites Dog and Korn Ferry developed a nine-month global integrated marketing communications campaign. We worked together to produce a suite of content including reports, videographics, infographics, blogs and an interactive salary surge calculator, all housed on a dedicated microsite. Each wave of content was supported by targeted PR, social media campaigns and segmented email nurture streams.


Online readership
pieces of international news and 
business media coverage
results against media impact targets
$ millions
Direct revenue


Man Bites Dog worked with Korn Ferry to create an internal engagement programme which ensured the firm's consultants embraced the campaign and took it to market via one-to-one meetings, C-suite roundtables, webinars, speaker platforms and exclusive events, translating the campaign into direct revenue. New strategic workforce planning services generated millions of dollars in revenue directly attributed to the campaign and the new labour model is now used for bespoke talent crunch forecasts for multinationals and governments in client engagements across the world.

The Global Talent Crunch is Korn Ferry’s most successful media and marketing campaign to date: it drove Korn Ferry’s biggest-ever spike in web mentions, exceeded media targets by over 900% and secured 600+ pieces of high-quality international news and business media coverage, an online readership of 1.1 billion, 178 million reach and 157K social shares.

The campaign secured 10 global awards.

PR Week Global Awards 2019

Best Global Content Campaign

SABRE Awards EMEA 2019

Best Global Programme

In2 SABRE Awards 2019

Best Campaign Using Original/Commissioned Research

CIPR Excellence Awards 2019

Best International Campaign & 
Mark of Excellence: Best Content Campaign

B2B Marketing Awards 2019

Gold Award: Best Use of Thought Leadership & 
Silver Award: Best International Campaign

CorpComms Awards 2019

Best International Campaign & 
Highly Commended: Best Corporate Campaign

ICCO Global Awards 2018

World’s Best B2B Campaign

“Being able to link talent and GDP is incredibly powerful. The Global Talent Crunch created a call to action for Korn Ferry’s unique breadth of organisational services. It’s the first strategic campaign that captured the full spectrum of what we can do, and bound it all together – only Korn Ferry has the full solution to save the global economy from the talent crunch. This campaign not only exceeded all media and marketing targets, it is thought leadership leaders can use – generating $millions in direct revenue.”
Alan Guarino, Vice Chairman, Korn Ferry

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