Non-competes are and odd thing, typically less enforceable the more restrictive they are, but they can and do offer employers some level of protection. In some US states they are already unenforceable.
Seen as a method of retention, they are pretty useless, if someone wants to leave, do you really want them pissed off and unmotivated in your business? If someone wants to leave they will find a way.
I do believe though an employer has a right to preserve their proprietary IP and competitive advantages. If non-competes are no longer of much use, maybe we'll see more use of NDAs (Non-Disclosure Agreements)? But how enforceable are they, what is the cost of enforcement? It will be interested to see how this plays out.
As an executive search firm, we deal with candidate resignations, non-compete issues and counter-offers on a daily basis. Rarely do the prohibit an employee making the move they want. Sometimes, but not often.
How do we make freedom of employment choices primary, whilst protecting employers investments in time, knowledge and training? I doubt any government has the answers.
Interested to hear your thoughts.