From Human Resources to Human Talent

Considering how long in history people have organized themselves to accomplish an endeavour from which they obtain some sort of retribution, it is surprising to learn that the “human resources” term was coined only a few decades ago.


It was in 1954 when the “human resources” term first came to life. Peter F. Drucker, an Austrian-American researcher, professor and author wrote about it in his book The Practice of Management, which is recognized as the first book to ever approach companies from a holistic standpoint. Interestingly, in his book Drucker talks about the worker as "the human resource", "comparable to all other resources but for the fact that it is human" the worker also has "specific properties" that managers must take into consideration as it is the only resource that has "the ability to coordinate, to integrate, to judge and to imagine".

Over the years, at Talentum, we have been able to attest that those abilities are key to consolidating a professional career as shown by the most successful candidates. Nowadays, rather than looking only for technical expertise, companies go out of their way to recruit human resources with the skill set they need, even if that means bringing candidates from neighboring cities, from other states or even going beyond borders to find them.


According to the World Economic Forum, the American economists Gary Becker and Jacob Mincer used the “human capital” term “to describe the mixture of skills, knowledge, experience, habits and personality in each of us that can be put to productive use”, back then, the term hadn’t been widespread, and people didn’t know what human capital was.

Although the earliest use of the “human capital” term can be attributed to Adam Smith, an Scottish political economist and philosopher who wrote about it in 1887, as well as to Irving Fisher, an American economist, statistician and inventor who also wrote about it in 1897. Undeniably, studies around the human capital topic reached larger proportions in the 1950’s, right after World War II when economic recovery became a general interest.

But the term was widely popularized thanks to articles such as “Investment in Human Capital and Personal Income Distribution” by Jacob Mincer’s written in1958, the American Economic Association presidential address in 1961 by Theodore Schultz’s, and the early work of Nobel Prize recipient, Gary Becker, whom in 1964 published “Human Capital: A Theoretical and Empirical Analysis”.


Human talent is a relatively new term coined by McKinsey & Company which was the focus of a 1997 study called “The War for Talent”. The study talks about the increasingly competitive landscape where recruitment and talent retention are at their core. It states that talent is a key factor to organizational success.

The above mentioned study became a Harvard Business Press book by Ed Michaels, Helen Handfield-Jones, and Beth Axelrod in 2001, right around the time when the proliferation of web based businesses stabilized along with the economy. Back then, it was generally accepted that the war for talent was over, but the authors argue that it will actually intensify in the following two decades, as companies will strive for talent as a means to cope with economic and social challenges. The book also describes how the war for talent goes beyond recruitment tactics; “ it's about recognizing the strategic importance of human capital because of the enormous value that better talent creates”.


When Talentum was founded it brought together a pool of combined experience from several industries such as aerospace, automotive, consumer products, electronics, medical devices, hospitality, education and economic development, which is what we bring to the table when it comes to approaching and solving our customer’s recruiting challenges.

Our Talentum team has extensive experience in a myriad of functions related to talent management; we help our clients develop employee growth and retention strategies for local and multinational organizations, we provide leadership and influence in the detection, attraction and retention of talent. We do all this working within the proper legal framework.

Experience, passion and talent is what drives our organization, and we want to extend it to yours. It would be a pleasure to become your recruitment ally.

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Talentum Corporation is a boutique recruitment firm that helps businesses find and secure great leaders throughout Mexico, the United States and Latin America.

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