talent pipeline

This definition is part of our Essential Guide: A guide to talent management tools and trends
Contributor(s): Emma Snider

A talent pipeline is a pool of candidates who are qualified to assume open positions that have been newly created or vacated through retirement or promotion. 

Creating a talent pipeline begins by crafting a skills and qualifications profile for a given role and identifying people who might be strong candidates for the position. Human resources (HR) leaders then assess the gaps between the individual's current abilities and those needed to perform the target role effectively and help them to develop the necessary skills. Having a talent pipeline ensures that roles will not go unfilled for long periods or that people are not promoted before they are ready. Either of these scenarios could negatively impact a company if the empty position is in senior leadership or another crucial area.

Talent management software can help HR managers build a talent pipeline by identifying high-potential employees, monitoring their performance over time and building their skills through learning opportunities.

This was last updated in January 2014

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