Labor trends around the world

Peter McCardle. Director of Hays Madrid

19 September 2013

The world is currently seeing high levels of unemployment in some sectors and functional areas, while others are finding it difficult to get the people they need. In order to address this imbalance, we need to understand how labor markets work.

Understanding labor markets is key, and that was exactly what we hoped to achieve when we recently presented the Hays Global Skills Index 2012’ at IE Business School. The Index, which is undertaken jointly with Oxford Economics, explains labor trends around the world.  It is based on a standard model used to evaluate the key factors that bring about a lack of qualified personnel in any given country, and is aimed at helping employers, employees and legislators gain a better understanding of labor markets in order to help them develop key policies that governments, international organisms and multinationals can take into consideration when designing their long-term strategies.

Said issue has already fuelled extensive debate given that our capacity to address the lack of competences will have major consequences in the future. The report reveals that the skilled work force on a global level currently presents a paradox in which there are incredibly high levels of unemployment  in many areas, while other countries or industries are finding it hard to find the highly skilled workers they need to fill available jobs. These findings were corroborated in course of the presentation of the Hays Global Skills Index 2012 by the directors of IE’s international offices in Germany, UK, Singapore, Mexico, Colombia, US.S:. UAE, and Australia - 8 of the Schools 27 delegations which work with candidates and recruiters in all world continents.

The report showed that 16 of the 27 countries surveyed had a rigid labor market in which companies are experiencing many difficulties when it comes to hiring and retaining skilled personnel, and that the US and Germany  were finding it the most difficult. The survey also revealed a massive imbalance of talent in countries like Spain, evidenced by the high level of long-term unemployed in the construction sector, with the US scoring the least points in this respect.

In order to address these global problems, the report proposes measures that include the following:

1. Governments must be clear about what skills they need and then work on attracting these specific skills.
2. They have to offer tax incentives to employers to increase the number of available training programs, particularly in sectors where there are not enough professionals to cover job demand.

3. Governments have to work with employers to draw up strategic plans designed to increase training opportunities.

Although such initiatives are already being carried out to a certain extent, the authors of the report believe that there must be more, and that they must be better coordinated, given that solving this problem would create more jobs, stimulate economic growth, and bring considerable opportunities to millions of people.

Find out more about the Hays Global Skills Index 2012 here.


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