The countries facing the greatest skill shortages
Skills shortages have become a growing problem for employers as rapid globalization and technological change shape the world’s job markets. The magnitude of the problem varies by country and is most pronounced in Asia. Japan is the most affected country, with 89% of companies aware of the problem. The country topped the survey for several years in a row because it was one of the first industrialized nations to experience a rapidly aging population and declining labor market participation. Japan has only recently opened up to more immigration and hasn’t addressed the issue for years.
In today’s modern global economic system, some countries are doing better than others, at least when it comes to avoiding skills shortages. The complexities involved in the global flow of talent and skills shortages include a myriad of factors including: education, socio-demographics, wages, and more. In essence, skills shortages are a short or long-term consequence of a technologically advanced global economy and interconnected, dynamic societies. Let’s explore this topic further by looking at the countries facing the worst skills shortages and why.
An article on Forbes called: Countries Facing Worst Skills Shortages [Infographic] by Niall McCarthy – shows the findings of the OECD report called: Getting Skills Right: Assessing and Anticipating Changing Skills Needs.
Skills shortage as a percentage of firms with 10 or more employees in selected countries.
Japan 81% India 64% Brazil 63% Turkey 63% Mexico 44% Greece 42% Australia 41% Germany 40% US 40% Italy 34% Canada 31% China 24% France 21% UK 12% Spain 3%
These percentages show how many employers report difficulty finding qualified employees with the required skills.
Why is there a skills shortage?
This is a complex question given the scope of the problem, but there are a number of identifiable reasons why some countries face more skills shortages than others. A good summary of the problem can be found in the OECD report mentioned above:
Intensified globalization and rapid technological change in recent decades, along with population migration and labor market developments, have substantially altered the structure of skills demand in most countries – trends that are expected to continue for the foreseeable future.
The main problem is that the types of jobs that are being created don’t have a corresponding workforce that doesn’t have the skills needed to fill those positions. Technological innovations play an important role in changing the types of jobs created, while changing socio-demographics and behaviors also play an important role in skills shortages.
The report does state:
Shortages are likely to be larger in countries with low educational attainment and high economic growth, as their educational infrastructure may lag in adapting to rapid structural change.
Each country has different variables to explain why they are facing skills shortage; for example, looking at Japan, which is number one on the list, we learned from the Japan Times news:
Japan’s aging and shrinking population has led to labor shortages labor-intensive industries such as hotels, restaurants and senior care are suffering from the largest labor shortages. Japan also faces a skills shortage for management positions because they lag behind in university education, language skills and management education. Every country has root causes of certain skills shortages, including the planning and management to address them.
The solution to the skills shortage
Both governments and individual businesses are assessing skills shortages in their countries to develop strategies to fill any workforce and skills gaps. Understanding where skills shortages exist and sharing information with: higher education institutions, industry and government programs – is the first step. The next step is to develop strategies to find skilled workers and maintain a more balanced talent flow through education, international recruitment, retraining, and more.
One of the main solutions employers seek is international recruitment, which is more possible today than ever. The solution is to find a surplus of qualified workers in a country and recruit them to countries with skills shortages. Access to foreign skilled workers also benefits employers because they provide foreign market expertise, which is desirable in an interconnected global economy.
Businesses in many different countries are actively recruiting internationally, especially as they experience the negative impact of these skills shortages. For this reason, services that facilitate this are becoming important partners for businesses. The Network is that service, helping businesses around the world find qualified candidates from our global network of 50+ leading recruitment sites in 130+ countries.
Businesses can partner with The Network to simplify their international recruiting efforts with: one point of contact with industry expertise, one currency and one contract. Top global talent is willing to relocate, but the hiring process needs to be smooth and efficient to reflect the quality of the opportunity.