Chronic skills shortages worldwide, but high unemployment persists

HRM 19 Nov 2012

The world is facing an economic paradox as many countries are facing high unemployment, yet still suffering from chronic skill shortages, says a report by Hays.

According to the Hays Global Skills Index, the struggle for skilled individuals to fill positions is a result of labour market inflexibility, global competition for talent driving up salaries, and poor or inadequate education and training.

Among the 27 key economies that the Index covered, 16 countries are currently feeling the effects from a tightened labour market despite the global economic slowdown. This causes wage inflation, leaving many vital roles vacant and limiting economic growth.

The two countries affected most are Germany and the US, where there are considerable skill shortages despite high unemployment levels.

The report proposed several measures to combat the problem. The first is that governments focus on the skills their economies lack and take appropriate measures to attract these people through immigration. This may require an overhaul of existing work visa arrangements. Secondly, employers should be offered fiscal incentives to increase their provision of relevant training. Lastly, governments should work with employers and educational authorities to implement initiatives for young people to acquire skills needed for both the country and at an international level.

Alistair Cox, Chief Executive of Hays said: “Many countries are suffering chronically high levels of unemployment, yet employers are struggling to find enough skilled individuals to fill the posts available.  Ironically, the world is short of the very skills that would help stimulate economic growth and thereby create opportunities for the unemployed.

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

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