The Global Skills Shortage is Very Real

Posted on: 30.09.2011    17:02:23

It is surprising that the fact that there are national and international skills shortages is still taking people by surprise and this really is a reflection on the inadequacy of Board level Management in not planning for the future in the crucial area of Talent Management.

As an international recruitment agency we are seeing it daily and it will get worse before it gets better as trying to close gaps is a bit like turning an ocean liner it takes time and happens slowly.

Obviously it is good news for diverse organisations who step forward to fill theses skills gaps but many business leaders are endangering there future prosperity by not reaching out to the market place in an effective manner.

It is not all about the size of your cheque book, although this helps, it is about the overall pitch that is made to candidates. long gone are the days where an employer can imperiously bellow down the phone and order up 10 Engineers or 25 welders.

We now build a picture for candidates and to be able to work we need clients that understand that it not just all about them but appreciate that quality candidates have national and international recruitment choices and that we are making a competitive pitch for their services.

Existing today are four global sectors of acute skills shortages

  • Education and in particular ESL Teachers are in very short demand. Why? English is the global language and we have China and Japan competing strongly, but so are most nations. The most acute shortage is in the Middle East. In Saudi Arabia where US$5.3 billion was spent on a new University exclusive to women and they also decided to reduce the age at which English is taught from Grade 6 to Grade 4 there is a dreadful shortfall. Many employers in this area don’t help themselves by being ponderous in decision making and penny pinching in pay rates and bicker about fees. Another example is Australia, it has 700 ESL teachers looking for employment but is short of normal teachers. Come on guys get your act together. We were asked to supply teachers to Australia but the pay rates are woeful, no wonder there is a shortage.
  • Healthcare: It is Doctors and Nurses anywhere. Anyone with the skills is in demand. The UK is nicking nurses from Ireland, The Swiss are pinching them from Austria and Germany. Eastern Europe has been bled dry by Western Europe of care workers and nurses. Australia is so desperate that Western Australia are offering A$1000 intro bonus just to interview a qualified doctor. Any healthcare professional can stick a pin in the map and choose.
  • Natural Resources. Australia alone need 100,000 in Oil and gas and Mining, ignoring the other needs, Canada is recruiting strongly , particularly in Alberta. The Middle East is a slumbering giant taking time to adjust to higher wage rates. The Japanese are still shell shocked by the events in March. The Norwegian have their cheque books out and are nicking some Aussies. Demand exceeds supply so the cost of labour is rising.
  • Engineering. The skills transcend many industrial sectors and all of them are in short supply. The UK has been slow to recognise the shortage of talent by a combination of an ageing workforce profile and emigration. Whilst Australia and the Middle East have turned to look East in Europe the Brits have been very slow but are now happy to whinge at their own ineptitude.

So Mr Chairman , what are you going to do to sharpen up your corporate act in the face of global competition for talent?

Let me give you the best tip going. Make sure your back door is securely shut before looking out of your front door.

If you don’t understand how important that is, you have no hope.


Author – Chris Slay

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