Prediction: Organizations will use internal talent marketplaces to unleash talent mobility

Posted by Kathi Enderes, Erin Spencer, and Charu Ratnu on December 10, 2019.

Talent mobility is a priority for most organizations—76 percent of companies that participated in the 2019 Deloitte Human Capital Trends survey described the issue as important or very important.1 That’s no surprise: unemployment in the United States is currently at record lows, and the number of open positions exceeds the number of unemployed workers.2 As a result, many organizations are looking for new ways to meet their talent needs. Moving forward, we predict that internal mobility will take on greater prominence for companies, leapfrogging the recruitment of external candidates as a talent source. Internal talent marketplaces will play a key role in enabling that mobility by helping people find opportunities within their organizations more easily and fostering more agile skill development and team-building.

Internal mobility helps organizations find better candidates: organizations that promote employees internally are 32 percent more likely to be satisfied with the quality of their new hires,3 in large part because external hires typically take two years to reach the same level of performance. Compared with internal hires in similar positions, external hires are 61 percent more likely to be laid off or fired in their first year of service and 21 percent more likely to leave on their own.4

Internal mobility is also important from a workforce experience perspective: 49 percent of millennials would, given the choice, leave their current jobs for better roles in the next two years, and of that group, 35 percent planned to exit due to the lack of opportunities to advance.5 In the quest to retain key people, providing opportunities for development and growth should be an organizational priority.

Unfortunately, internal mobility is not a strength of most organizations. According to Deloitte’s Human Capital Trends study, only 6 percent of organizations do an excellent job at moving people from role to role.6

Fueling Internal Mobility with Talent Marketplaces
One problem with internal mobility involves transparency around available positions. More than 50 percent of surveyed people find it easier to get a job outside their organizations than inside, and most organizations look to external sources for needed skills and capabilities.7 Talent marketplaces can provide this missing element of transparency, letting employees see the openings in their organization, describing the skills and experiences needed, and suggesting possible matches. Conversely, team leaders or project managers trying to staff open positions or initiatives can search internal candidates to determine the best matches and review those who have expressed interest.

In short, talent marketplaces can provide the structure that allows organizations and individuals to access a wealth of opportunities. Internal talent marketplace technology is now sufficiently advanced to mirror the experiences of external candidates and provide organizations insight into their internal mobility processes. This technology isn’t limited to advertising internal job openings—it can identify open project work, role opportunities, and the skills and capabilities needed by both the individual and the organizations going forward. Internal talent marketplaces can also help in reskilling the workforce for future needs, helping people learn in the flow of work.

The best talent marketplaces also serve up proactive insights, suggesting to workers where they could advance in their careers and informing team leaders of candidates (who may not have been otherwise identified) whose skills and capabilities may be a fit for open roles. Thinking about roles instead of just jobs helps test out talent for specific areas and functions and increase agility to recalibrate in case of misalignment. For individuals, a nudge from the platform to hone skills and capabilities in ways that meet organizational needs can create a more meaningful work experience, increase individual skills and portfolios, and develop business relationships.

Looking Internally as an Organization
So why haven’t talent marketplaces gone mainstream? Even though organizations have overcome technological barriers, other issues persist. Many workers are not prepared to embrace new opportunities, and managers continue to resist internal mobility.8 These problems are worsened by organizational practices that discourage risk-taking, reward talent-hoarding, and reinforce established job structures and hierarchies. For both managers and employees, “playing it safe” is often the norm.

Fortunately, these challenges can be addressed head-on. If your organization has been overlooking internal talent, here are some practical tips to start developing an internal talent marketplace:

  • Invest in the right technology. Internal talent marketplace technology now supports the creation of platforms that allow visibility into organizational needs and how workers’ profiles compare to them. Any internal marketplace needs to be searchable by both workers and their employers and provide for easy updates of user profiles.
  • Define the work. Understand what work is most critical to your organization and aligns to the overall strategy of your business. Define that work not merely in terms of jobs but in terms of roles, capabilities, and skills.
  • Get leadership on board. Show leaders the value of supporting company-wide retention outcomes through internal mobility. High-performing organizations set explicit targets for internal talent mobility and tie management compensation to building workers’ readiness for lateral or upward movement.9
  • Create and popularize a culture of internal mobility. Understand the close relationship between internal talent and organization-wide performance—and then treat talent as critical to growth. Inviting homegrown leaders to share their stories can be an essential part of building a culture of internal mobility. Setting expectations for managers to be “exporters” of top talent is key.

As organizations work toward greater levels of internal talent mobility and design talent marketplaces to meet these needs, the shift in mindset required will gradually be viewed as business as usual. An agile and modular approach to work, talent, and careers will not only increase the flexibility and retention of key talent but ultimately will help make work more meaningful. As organizations become intentional about internal talent mobility, they will leverage internal talent marketplaces and seize the opportunity to increase workforce satisfaction, retention, and encourage a more agile organization. Transforming the workforce for the future will depend on internal talent mobility, and we’ll explore what practices differentiate outcomes in 2020.

Our Future of Talent survey is now open. Follow the link to participate and learn more about what you’ll receive for taking part. Thank you!

Kathi Enderes, PhD, is a vice president and the talent and workforce research leader at Bersin™, Deloitte Consulting LLP.

Erin Spencer is a senior research analyst, Solution Provider Market, at Bersin™, Deloitte Consulting LLP.

Charu Ratnu is a senior research analyst at Bersin™, Deloitte Consulting LLP.

12019 Global Human Capital Trends: Leading the social enterprise—Reinvent with a human focus, Deloitte Consulting LLP and Deloitte Insights, 2019.
2“Unemployment vs. Job Openings,”, October 9, 2019,
3“Integrated career development,” Fuel50 / Anne Fulton and Maya Crawley, 2018.
4“Why promoting within usually beats hiring from outside,” / Susan Adams, April 5, 2012,
5The 2019 Deloitte Millennial Survey—Societal discord and technological transformation create a “generation disrupted,”Deloitte Touche Tohmatsu Limited, 2019.
62019 Global Human Capital Trends: Leading the social enterprise—Reinvent with a human focus, Deloitte Consulting LLP and Deloitte Insights, 2019.
72019 Global Human Capital Trends: Leading the social enterprise—Reinvent with a human focus, Deloitte Consulting LLP and Deloitte Insights, 2019.
8“Are you overlooking your greatest source of talent?” Deloitte Review / Robin Erickson, PhD, Denise Moulton, and Bill Clearly, July 30, 2018,
9“Are you overlooking your greatest source of talent?” Deloitte Review / Robin Erickson, PhD, Denise Moulton, and Bill Cleary, July 30, 2018,

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