The widely accepted ‘war for talent’ approach to personnel management endeavours to maximize the efficient use of resources by pursuing ‘talent’ within an increasingly diverse workforce. But what ‘talent’ means and how one goes about securing it is context dependent, making it difficult to devise broad strategies. Taken within a global context, that is, the ‘global war for talent’, the concept reaches greater levels of complexity for practitioners and academics alike. In this chapter I characterize the ‘global war for talent’ by providing demographic, economic and theoretical background while drawing connections to international talent management (ITM). A qualitative case study examining ITM in the United Kingdom National Health Service (NHS) is presented. Results show that the ‘global war for talent’ ideologically underpins ITM but that instead of improving recruitment outcomes, it is making ITM less efficient as practitioners fight to influence larger political developments, mainly concerning immigration policy.
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