Talent shortages go global

Oct 24 2006 by Brian Amble Print This Article

Talent shortages among skilled professional workers are spreading across the world, leaving gaps in many organisations and forcing employers to pay higher salaries, a new global survey has revealed.

Results from the survey of nearly 32,000 employers across 26 countries by recruitment specialists Manpower suggest that the professional talent shortage is threatening growth opportunities across the globe, with almost one in three employers worldwide (29 per cent) reporting they would have hired more professional staff over the past six months had the appropriate talent been available.

A quarter are also paying higher salaries for permanent, professional staff than they did in the previous year.

This wage inflation is most marked in Asia Pacific, with a third of businesses in China and Hong Kong paying more than a year ago, a figure that rises to four out of 10 in Australia and New Zealand and more than half Ė some 55 per cent Ė in Singapore.

In the U.S., 38 per cent of employers said that that talent shortages had pushed up compensation and nearly half of employers would have hired more permanent professional staff in the past six months if quality candidates had been available.

"The talent shortage is here and wage inflation is increasing in the specialized skill sets and industry sectors where talent is already scarce," said Jeffrey A. Joerres, Chairman & CEO of Manpower Inc.

"As those trends increase, employers will have to work much harder to retain and optimize their existing permanent professional employees, and develop innovative ways to attract and retain new talent. Developing a strong employer brand will become even more important as the war for talent heats up."

Talent shortages among permanent professionals are particularly acute in the Americas and Asia Pacific, affecting more than four out of 10 employers. Employers in Peru (46 per cent), Japan (45 per cent), the U.S. (45 per cent) and Mexico (41 per cent) reported the most difficulty finding qualified professional talent, with wage inflation the inevitable result.

"In the U.S., we've been seeing shortages in specific skill sets such as IT and engineering," said Jonas Prising, President of Manpower North America.

"If you're a job candidate, the key to taking advantage of the talent shortage is to focus on re-training or skills enhancement to ensure that your skills are in sync with the contemporary job market."

But shortages are far less critical in Europe with fewer than a quarter of companies complaining that they have been unable to find the staff they need

Shortages of professional talent were reported by only 12 per cent of employers in France, 13 per cent in the Netherlands and 15 per cent in Belgium.

As a result, French employers reported the lowest wage inflation with only eight per cent of employers saying that talent shortages are causing them to pay higher salaries compared to a year ago.

In the UK fewer than a quarter ( 23 per cent) of employers said they would have hired more staff and only 17 per cent said they were paying more

While the survey findings are encouraging for those seeking new or better positions, the news should serve as an wake up call for employers in many countries to work harder to retain their existing professional employees and develop innovative ways to recruit top talent.

"The shortages are only going to get worse as more people reach retirement age," Jonas Prising said.

"The companies with the strongest employer brands will be the big winners in the competition for talent. They will be able to attract and retain top people with appealing work environments, and salary and benefits packages that reflect the contemporary world of work."