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World – Skills mismatch a global problem

01 October 2013

The causes of unemployment go beyond the state of the economy. Unemployment and unfilled vacancy numbers are rising across global markets and the global education systems are failing to deliver the requisite skills and talents to employers, according to a new report from recruitment firm Hays PLC.

The global economy is facing a severe talent mismatch with 18 out of 30 leading economies facing some form of skills shortages, while both unemployment levels and the number of unfilled vacancies are rising. In many markets, the labour available does not meet the skill requirements that employers are looking for, reports news aktuell.

According to Hays, the depth of the recent recession does not explain the root causes of unemployment or why the job market fails to deliver the skills businesses need. Countries suffering from an underperforming economy; such as Spain, are no more likely to be able to provide workers with the skills necessary than economies that are performing strongly.

These are the findings of the Hays Global Skills Index 2013, a report published by Hays plc, the leading global professional recruiting group, produced in collaboration with Oxford Economics. The report, titled 'The Great Talent Mismatch' and based on an analysis of professional employment markets across 30 major global economies, highlights the extent to which businesses and governments have to work together to build the right skills pipeline to deliver a sustainable recovery and growth.

The problem of talent mismatch spans several continents. The situation is particularly serious in the US, which is struggling with a jobless recovery; also in Spain, Portugal and Ireland, which were all badly affected by the Eurozone crisis. Japan is still struggling with a generation of economic stagnation and deflation, and in the UK where the current economic recovery is exposing a lack of skills across multiple industries.

Sentiment is improving across a number of markets, but action from both governments and the business community is required to address on-going skills shortages by allowing skilled labour markets to operate more flexibly, aligning education policy far more closely with economic needs, and ensuring the widest possible group of skilled workers across all generations are participating in the labour market.

Hays' Chief Executive Alistair Cox said: "The Hays Global Skills Index highlights a major paradox in the world's skilled labour markets. Employers across the globe are struggling to find enough people with the right set of skills for the posts they have available, even as millions of people remain unemployed. It is too easy to lay the blame for unemployment at the door of the global recession. The fact is, there is more that governments and businesses can and should do in order to develop the right talent pipeline and assure their future prosperity.”

"The supply of people with the right skills is the foundation for every successful organisation and finding the right person for a job can transform businesses, people's lives and make societies stronger. There are no easy answers to fixing today's problems in the world's skilled labour markets. However, we believe the principles outlined in our recommendations are relevant across the globe and should enable real progress towards addressing structural problems within international labour markets. Each and every one of us will reap significant benefits from this in the long-term," he concluded.

Hays Global Skills Index key findings:

  • There is no clear link between economic performance of a country and the efficiency of its labour markets.
  • Employment policies and educational policies, not economic conditions are the keys to tackling the global talent mismatch
  • Few countries have educational systems that deliver the skills required to provide employers with the skills they need 
  • Most countries have inflexible supplies of labour, indicating key groups of working age are not participating in the labour market –
  • Developing economies such as China and India have highly flexible workforces, but inflexible educational systems in these countries mean skills provision through education is unlikely to adapt effectively to changing economic conditions
  • In most countries, skilled labour markets have tightened over the past year.

The Hays Global Skills Index 2013 can be accessed in full here

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