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Skills Shortages a Global Problem


The unfolding tragedy in Japan is likely to exacerbate the demand for skilled construction workers once the current short term problems are fixed. Japan will have to outsource to third parties as they simply do not have the indigenous skills to handle the magnitude of demand that will follow.

Japan is likely to turn to the USA and Australia primarily as both countries operate to the very high standards of construction expected within Japan but whether reconstruction will involve replication of largely wooden buildings that became match sticks in the Tsunami remains to be seen.

In isolation the demand from Japan will be huge but you need to put it into an international context.

Australia enjoying a once in a lifetime resources boom is continually hampered by a lack of trade skills resources as well as professional managers and is actively chasing English speaking talent around the globe. The head of steam building up with demand far outstripping supply has lead to Western Australia demanding that the government drops the English speaking criteria but we don’t think this will happen

In a global perspective the problems in New Zealand have almost come a side show in terms of scale and of course the volatility of the “ring of fire” could bring further catastrophes as the area appears to be particularly unstable at present.

Just to heap on pressure for international skills we will have the recovery requirements of the Middle East once the politics of the region stabilises. Traditionally the Middle East has always used the power of the cheque book to get what they want and there is no reason to believe that they won’t use these tactics again.

The overall impact will be inflationary as Polish workers are used in places like the UK to replace welders, fabricators, CNC operators, engineers and construction workers that have gone overseas in search of a better life. Moreover should working in Australia become a direct route for Polish workers then they won’t bother to come to the UK at all.

When looking at sourcing employers also need to understand that competition within Europe, particularly from Germany is increasing rapidly and is due to take off from 1 May when Germany finally opens its borders.

So the expression “if you fail to plan, you plan to fail” has never been more relevant in international and domestic recruitment as what happens Sandal, Sydney or the south of Germany can have a ripple effect in Swindon.

 

Author: Chris Slay

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