Global Skills Shortage Escalates

Posted on: 27.05.2011    12:52:14

Oscar Wild described fox hunting as “The English country gentleman galloping after a fox, the unspeakable in full pursuit of the uneatable” and for many this would be a parody of an International Recruitment Agency although we’ll let you define the roles in the three way process involved.

For those on horseback they need to pick up the scent of what is happening internationally as the world slowly emerges from recession and starts to look positively once more. We trust that they have their stead in prime condition with a well honed jobdescription that is geared to clearly identify the quarry they are seeking. Are they actually fox hunting or out for a country ride possibly rabbitting or hare coursing. Before embarking on a journey you need to closely identify your quarry and know what you are chasing.

Meanwhile you have to be conscious of whom else has been hunting in your back yard. In recruitment terms Australia has never stopped hunting, as it has had no recession, and has been laying bait in Europe for some time. As competition to fill skills shortages has intensified with European Recruitment Agencies struggling to fill demand they are trying new beats in Asia and latterly Canada. Australians are ruthless hunters they will catch virtually anything at present , miners, engineers, welders, fabricators, mechanics , butchers, bakers basically anyone with trade skills and might even try and bag the other riders horses in pursuit of professionals in healthcare and so on They are quite partial to road kill with town planners, teachers, architects and accountants being in demand, but  they prefer them breathing. It seems working in Australia is open to anyone that has certified trade skills or professional qualifications providing they can speak English.

This of course has a huge knock on effect as the Aussies fill up their swag bags with Irish nurses or English Doctors as they need to be replaced and the merry-go-round starts again as Polish workers are brought in as care workers or dentists and to fill engineering skills shortages not just in the UK but we now see Canada stepping up its shopping list in Europe.

We have commented previously that the Middle East is stirring but is not yet onside in terms of offering competitive packages but that will change. Norway has deep pockets and is digging deep trying to find EU staff to work in international locations but might well have to broaden its criteria. We had expected Japan to start rebuilding plans and acceleration of its international oil and gas interests to offset nuclear reliance but that has yet to happen but when it does it will put more pressure on international recruitment agencies to find the requisite talent.

As we know Germany has shortages, particularly in engineering, and is turning east towards Polish workers but in turn it is losing its nurses to Switzerland that is offering top money.

What is the net sum of all this? For talent – demand is beginning to exceed supply and this leads to wage pull inflation lead by the strongest economies leaving the weak to pick up the bill as costs ripple through, having already paid the education costs of the strongest that are emigrating.

It does very little directly to help global unemployment. Why? Such a high percentage of the unemployed are unemployable as they are either poorly educated or do not have in demand skills and two years ago we said to expect social unrest and that is what we are now seeing but that is another story for another time.


Author: Chris Slay

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