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Top 10 International Skills Shortage Predictions for 2013

Not all 10 will apply to every jurisdiction and some local economies will have localised needs not covered below.

An ageing population, increased baby boomer retirement, misdirected education, technology impact and social change all play a part in creating skills shortages around the globe. Above all is the lack of planning, expectation and investment by the corporate sector that awaits a skills crisis before effectively tackling the issue. As usual the politicians are more interested in statistics and short term political advantage rather than long term solutions.

All commentators would have a different list culled from their own experience but ours is taken from jobs being placed and candidate registration. We base our analysis on the certified trade skills and professional markets for experienced people that everybody is seeking. In truth these are the ones with transferable skills that are willing to migrate to where the best opportunities lie.

Unfortunately, for the billions without skills, or the wrong type of skills, the outlook is bleak and even for those with currently in demand skills there is the threat of technological advances making them redundant within their working life time.

So to the list:

  1. Information technology. A worldwide shortage, although some countries like Australia and Holland claim to have a surplus. Even the EU with its manifest problems has announced IT to be its number one challenge. The Middle East is set to be a major purchaser of talent in 2013 so if you are a SAP worker keep places like Saudi Arabia on your radar.
  2. Healthcare. Ageing populations and government policies looking to extent “at home care” the demand is tremendous from the very top – Doctors and Dentists through nurses to care in the community and carers in residential homes. At the top end the pay and conditions have to be internationally competitive but we have some real problems at the bottom end where pay rates are very poor leading to tremendous shortages.
  3. Engineering, particularly anything to do with electrical and mechanical and process automation. Sorry, but leading companies are still looking to reduce reliance on human beings. We are now seeking a new hybrid engineer, part hands on but also with strong computer skills.
  4. Hands on trade skills. Not managers, the world has a glut of managers but needs the welder, fabricator, CNC operator. Together with construction skills like electrical, carpentry air conditioning. However, it may be necessary to follow opportunity around the globe on a project based approach.
  5. Mechanics, especially those with heavy plant skills possibly gathered when in armed services. These are needed in all resource rich countries where investment in infrastructure is occurring. Africa is now entering the race for these skills as they plough oil or mineral wealth into improving facilities.
  6. Education. For those fortunate enough to be native born English speakers the demand for English second language teachers is global. Saudi Arabia has lead the markets for years but the BRIC (Brazil, Russia, India and China) demand is set to mushroom, together with parts of Asia with strong economies. Demand has seen major shortfalls occur in 2012 and the challenge for 2013 and beyond remains daunting.
  7. Natural resources. As hinted above the demand will remain but its location will change and it will fluctuate as the world’s economic cycle shifts. We expect new energy sources to become a consumer of talent whether it is Uranium in Australia or solar energy in the Middle East. Again the emphasis will be on the physical workers more than Management.
  8. Aviation has real problems. As well as a skills shortage so much of the talent is in the wrong location and we see 2013 as the year when the old world starts shifting human resources to the new world. This goes well beyond the glamour end of the market with pilots but also into the crucial ground crew that keep the planes in the air.
  9. Teacher/trainer.  Being a teacher doesn’t make you a trainer. We see a real gap in the market where we know we need to train people around the globe from early teen years forward in the roles that industry needs not only today but in the next decade and beyond but this requires strategic thinking and implementation at the highest level . We can’t put a title on this group but we see traditional retired skilled workers being used as practical educators to provide hands on training in areas of skills shortage but using easy to use technology.
  10. Chefs. There has to be something in this for everybody and the last international skills shortage is Chefs. From Australia to Canada there is a shortage of top class chefs. The BRIC countries will be demanding these skills as well. Good news for Chefs but not so good for those of us looking for a decent meal locally as our favourite Chef gets head hunted.

As an international recruitment agency we concentrate on helping Employers alleviate skills shortages in their home or international markets and this is built around a detailed job description and any Employer can contact us via our site and we will happily send you a complimentary copy with our seasonal best wishes.

Of course our stock in trade is our quality candidates and if you are thinking of seeking an international position  then please be to email you a guide upon receipt of your CV that can be sent to


Author – Chris Slay

Skills Provision will allow our articles/quotes to be reproduced on other formats as long as full accreditation is given.