The war for talent: human capital challenges for professional service firms
Taylor and Francis
School of Business and Law / Centre for Innovative Practice
Professional service firms face particular human capital challenges. This study reflects on the distinctive characteristics of professional service firms through the concepts of knowledge intensity, low capital intensity and professionalized workforce. Based on in-depth interviews with 21 partners of Australian law firms, we provide empirical evidence on the war for talent challenges faced by professional service firms and in particular, law firms. The findings point to talent management challenges including reputation building and maintenance, employee autonomy, knowledge acquisition, revenue and profitability through internationalization, managing knowledge across borders, managing employee mobility, talent acquisition and retention, talent engagement, performance management and developing leadership capability. These challenges are important issues to be considered by professional service firms as they attempt to compete more effectively in global business contexts.