EY - How to secure top talent in the BRICs

How to secure top talent in the BRICs

Strategy 1: Accommodate different career goals

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Career goals steer employees’ decisions, such as where to work and expend effort, and when to leave an organization.

We know that career goals are important to high-potential employees. However, we wanted to understand what this specifically meant in the BRICs, and what it meant across the different in-demand professions.

Our respondents clearly and consistently demonstrated that they value work-life balance. But, surprisingly, they place less emphasis on international experience.

Career goals differ by professions surveyed in the BRIC countries.

Among the in-demand talent we surveyed, we found differences in the value placed on four career goals. For example, engineers who need to stay particularly current in their field, tend to want to be technical or functional experts, and want to be dedicated to a cause. Business professionals have a stronger desire for independence.

Action point: Use differentiated job design, career paths and performance-management processes to meet these differing career goals across professions.


Respondents in different countries have very different career goals.

Across the four countries we looked at, there were many career goals that were shared by high-demand talent. However, there were some career goals that were valued differently by those in each country.

Ranking of each career goal on level of desirability (1 = highest ranked) Brazil Russia India China
To have work-life balance 1 1 1 1
To be secure or stable in my job 2 2 2 4.5
To be dedicated to a cause or to feel that I am serving a greater good 3 7 8 8
To be entrepreneurial or creative and innovative 4 8 4 4.5
To be competitively or intellectually challenged 5.5 5 5 7
To be a technical or functional expert 5.5 3 6 6
To be a leader or manager of people 7 6 3 2
To be autonomous or independent 8 4 7 3
To have an international career 9 9 9 9

Action point: Tailor career-management systems and processes to recognize national differences – for example, projects that take employees into new areas of work, provide access to more senior stakeholders, and place higher demands on their performance.


In-demand talent shares many goals, such as the desire for work-life balance and the opportunity to build a career in one’s home country.

The low rating of interest in international assignments is particularly striking. In-demand employees are increasingly seeing that there are exciting developments in their own countries. In the past, talent in BRIC countries might have thought that their best opportunity lay with working abroad at the headquarters of a multinational corporation. This has changed. Multinational subsidiaries must now compete aggressively for development-minded BRIC talent, against global firms that offer exciting careers closer to home.

Action point: Re-evaluate the structure of your talent management programs in these countries, and look beyond global mobility as a means of developing leadership skills and diversity of experience.