Surprise global skills shortage amid economic slowdown

THE world is facing a chronic skills shortage in crucial professions despite rising unemployment in an easing global economy, while demand for skills in Australia’s mining and resource sector remains high.
Surprise global skills shortage amid economic slowdown Surprise global skills shortage amid economic slowdown Surprise global skills shortage amid economic slowdown Surprise global skills shortage amid economic slowdown Surprise global skills shortage amid economic slowdown


Brooke Showers

The Hays Global Skills Index, produced by recruitment specialists Hays in conjunction with Oxford Economics, revealed 16 of the 27 countries surveyed were suffering some degree of market tightness, despite the global economic slowdown.

The index had revealed a major paradox in global skilled labour markets, Hays chief executive Alistair Cox said.

“Many countries are suffering chronically high levels of unemployment, yet employers are struggling to find enough skilled individuals to fill the posts available,” Cox said.

“Ironically, the world is short of the very skills that would help stimulate economic growth and thereby create opportunities for the unemployed.”

Hays measured the constraints and frictions within each country’s market for skilled labour by analysing education levels, labour market flexibility and high-skill wage pressures.

The report showed each country surveyed was facing specific issues in its skilled labour force, with varying dynamics and pressures playing a part.

Hays found demand for highly skilled professionals in Australia’s natural resource sector remained high, and was the key driver of the nation’s market labour tightness.

While Germany and the US were among the worst affected by considerable skills shortages despite high unemployment, most countries in the Eurozone were experiencing slack labour markets.

Hays said countries such as Italy and Belgium were facing the lowest levels of frictions and constraints in terms of hiring skilled professionals.

Each country was rated 0-10 on its constraints and frictions in the skilled labour market, with a score above five indicating employers were having difficulty finding key skills.

Countries rating above five included the US, Germany, Sweden, Australia, Brazil, Canada and China.

At the other end of the scale, a rating under five demonstrated a lax labour market with no major constraints on skilled labour supply.

New Zealand, the Czech Republic and France were the only three countries to rate lower than five.

In order to combat the mismatch of skills availability and demand, Hays put forward three long-terms plans of action.

The first suggests governments focus on skills their economies lack and take appropriate measures to attract relevant people through targeted migration.

The second suggestion urges employers to offer financial incentives to increase their provision of relevant training for skilled roles.

The third plan sees governments and employers partnering with educational authorities to encourage youth to acquire the skills most needed.

Cox said the report and Hays’ recommendations were intended to provoke discussion and engagement from governments and international bodies on the global skills mismatch.

“Solving the issues will take time, but the challenge should not be dismissed,” he said.

“Our proposals would help create more jobs, stimulate economic growth and potentially provide employment opportunities for millions.”

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