(Webinar Recap) Driving Business and Talent Outcomes with Career Pathways Ft. Josh Bersin

Part One: Webinar Highlights from “Driving Business and Talent Outcomes with Career Pathways”


While staff displacement and mass layoffs may be dominating the news cycle, labor market statistics paint a very different picture. In fact, in 2019 the unemployment rate fell to 3.5% – the lowest rate since 19691. Today’s unemployment rate, however, is even lower – 3.4% reported in January 20222. What’s more, in 2019 there were 6 million job openings3, but today’s job market has grown to 11 million open positions4.  “Most of you are going to be facing an economic slowdown,” said Bersin, “but the paradoxical counterpart is that the labor market is incredibly tight.” It’s no wonder that according to a recent Gartner report of 850 HR leaders, attracting, retaining and training talent for the future of work are still 3 of the 5 top trending HR priorities for 2023. 

These topics and more were at the core of a live discussion between Josh Bersin (The Josh Bersin Group), Nehal Nangia (Research Analyst, The Josh Bersin Group), Matthew J. Daniel (Principal of Talent Mobility and Strategy, Guild), Olivia Walsh (VP Talent and Culture, Tyson) and Joe Gage (CHRO, Bon Secours Mercy Health)


The complexities of today’s talent landscape

50.5 million people quit their jobs in 2022 beating out 2021’s total of 47.8 million – about ⅓ of the workforce – which means that there simply aren’t enough people to fill open jobs5. Bersin and Nangia walked through the realities of today’s talent pool.  

  • Baby Boomers are retiring. 
  • The fertility rate is now below replacement rate in almost every developed economy – even China. 
  • Employees today want more flexibility. 
  • Businesses are moving into new industries, downsizing and upsizing at the same time as they transform, requiring new skills and new roles to be filled. 

All of these issues lead to challenges attracting and retaining actual human beings able to step into roles.

Is skilling alone enough?

Learning and skilling have been critical parts of the recovery process for businesses post-pandemic. But is skilling enough? Everything we do in learning, skilling and reskilling is a means to an end, but not the end in itself. “The end goal is growth,” said Nangia. In 2022, The Josh Bersin Group undertook their largest study on what matters most for driving critical business outcomes in relationship to 94 leading L&D practices. 


The #1 most impactful L&D practice for driving talent, business and innovation outcomes is creating extensive career growth options.6


Additionally, Bersin shared an anecdote from a large insurance company he interviewed that went to their employees and said – ‘how much time do you have for education, training, skilling and project work outside of your current job?’. The answer was zero…we’re too busy, too overworked, forget it. So they said, let me ask you a second question. If we could give you education, growth opportunities, project work that would advance your career, now how much time would you have? The answer was 20%.

In other words,” said Bersin, “people felt they could actually spend time on other things if they could get growth out of it.”

POLL: Have you integrated career pathways into your organization’s talent strategy?

Attendees were asked to answer this poll question, sharing their journey with career advancement strategies for employees. 

  • No, not yet – 25%
  • Yes, in beginning stages – 50%
  • Yes, but it needs work – 21%
  • Yes, comprehensive work that’s going well – 4%

While aligning skills to career pathways is critical to unlocking mobility for the workforce, it’s clear from the poll and also Bersin’s research that creating career advancement opportunities is still a complex and largely unsolved problem for most organizations. 


Growth is a talent attraction magnet

Olivia Walsh, VP Talent and Culture, Tyson, oversees a global headcount of 140,000 with more than 70% of team members working in manufacturing.  Talent development was always part of the culture at Tyson, but often “each business unit had their own development units, and we were at a stage where we wanted to do a deep investment in how we help people grow and have opportunities within the company,” said Walsh.


“Our talent philosophy [at Tyson] is ‘Grow With Us’”

Olivia Walsh | Head of Talent and Culture, Tyson


As a result, Tyson made “ a four year investment with our partners at Guild to bring education to every team member at Tyson. Trying to remove barriers is really important for us, so we made these opportunities available to team members from day one.”  

The impact with new hires in particular has been impressive.  According to Walsh, “82% of those engaged with the program have done so within their first 30 days at Tyson. Whether they say it in the interview process, or onboarding process, they are connecting with that offering and showing interest.” 


“82% of those engaged with the [Guild] program have done so within their first 30 days at Tyson.”

Olivia Walsh | Head of Talent and Culture, Tyson


If you want the workforce of the future, you’re going to have to build it

Joe Gage, CHRO, Bon Secours Mercy Health (BSMH), has 52,000 employees across the mid and southeastern U.S. and shared that his organization, like many others in healthcare, have been hit hard by 3 perfect storms – the pandemic, talent shortages and increased labor rates and now a cash/profitability crisis. “You will see in the next few months health systems around the country folding – more mergers, more acquisitions, more combinations,” said Gage “because healthcare is in the third leg which is the cash crisis, and all of this started with COVID.”

The problem isn’t volume or capacity. “We are at about 95% capacity,” said Gage, “but the more volume we take on, the more money we lose. In 2021-2022…the talent shortage led to a substantial increase in labor rates. We increased nursing rates between 8-11%…pretty standard…but our reimbursement rates only went up about 3% a year, in other words, insurers are only paying about 3% more…so labor is our #1 cost…most healthcare systems in America are upside down right now.”

That forced BSMH to take a hard look at workforce planning. Talent management is viewed as the #1 risk for the business in their ERN at the board level, which pushed BSMH to “look at solutions like Guild and internal talent mobility.” BSMH recognized that to capture the workforce of the future, “we’re going to have to build it.”


A talent attraction magnet

Roughly 50% of candidates hired in the last year say “the education benefits are one of the number one reasons they joined the organization,” said Gage.  “We started with Guild and our internal career mobility in 2021 – and we’re seeing just of those who have an account, they are 2.4x more likely to stay and those actually enrolled in [programs] are 4x more likely to stay.”


Interested in exploring more impacts of Career Mobility?




1“Job Market remains tight in 2019 as unemployment rate falls to its lowest level since 1969.” © 2020 | www.Bls.gov
2https://www.bls.gov/news.release/pdf/empsit.pdf © 2023
3“Job Market remains tight in 2019 as unemployment rate falls to its lowest level since 1969.” | www.Bls.gov | © 2020
4https://www.bls.gov/news.release/jolts.nr0.htm © 2023
5“Why 2022 was the real year of the great resignation.” CNBC.com © 2023
6Career Pathways: Building Tomorrow’s Workforce Today. The Josh Bersin Company. ©2022

Written by Matthew J Daniel

Principal, Career Mobility COE