Increased talent mobility, improved employability needed to tackle skills crisis

RP news wires

Manpower Inc., a world leader in innovative workforce solutions, has warned that the mobility of highly-skilled talent and the training and education of workers need to be improved to address an era of talent scarcity that threatens to stall economic growth, as access to human capital replaces access to financial capital as the key competitive differentiator in the post-recession world.

David Arkless, Manpower president of corporate and government affairs, chairs the Skills and Talent Mobility Council at the World Economic Forum's third Summit on the Global Agenda in Dubai. The three-day summit brings together over 600 thought leaders from 60 countries in academica, business, government and society, to discuss innovative responses to the challenges facing the world. The Skills and Mobility Council will propose new frameworks and solutions to tackle demographic shifts and talent mismatches in developed and developing economies.

"Employers are struggling to find the right people, with the right skills in the right place at the right time, and this talent mismatch will only increase as working age populations decline in mature markets and a growing number of people in the developed world lack the skills employers need in today's market," said Arkless. "Increased worker mobility is one solution to meet the growing demand for highly-skilled labor in developed countries as critical skills gaps mean companies and national economies need to attract foreign talent to ensure sustainable growth."

Earlier this year, Manpower released a World of Work Insight paper, titled "Strategic Migration –  A Short-Term Solution to the Skilled Trades Shortage," which recommends that increased worker mobility can help ease talent shortages among skilled trades by bringing the necessary workers to the work. Skilled trades are the hardest positions to fill globally, according to Manpower's 2010 Talent Shortage Survey. The paper suggests the easing of immigration laws to allow workers with scarce, in-demand skills to move more easily to where the work is. It also advises better alignment of technical training with the skills demanded by businesses.

The Council also believes that better and more abundant homegrown talent could be developed through education and training, so that workforce entrants are equipped with more skills rather than general education. In the developing world, large swathes of the workforce cannot secure gainful employment due to their lack of basic skills. Developing effective solutions to increase the employability of diverse workers relies on a focused approach to improving the education and training of the disenfranchised.

"Emerging markets desperately require greater numbers of talented individuals as their economies demand, but there are simply not enough qualified people to fill the gaps," added Arkless. "Helping these individuals participate more actively in the labor market and therefore providing businesses with the talent they need, something Manpower is engaged in with countless workforce development programs around the world, is a win-win situation for everybody."

The Council will also recommend that companies encourage the short-term migration of employees and students to broaden their skills set and cultural awareness, as well as leveraging new technology to connect employers with the skilled people they require without physically moving them. Earlier this year at the World Economic Forum Annual Meeting in Davos, Switzerland, Manpower released a research paper titled"Social Networks vs. Management? Harness the Power of Social Media," which advised businesses on ways to harness social networks to help achieve its business objectives.

During a panel discussion at Davos titled "Social Networks vs. the CEO – Is the CEO prepared?" Jeff Joerres, Manpower chairman and CEO, explained that organizations can tap previously invisible and inaccessible pools of talent in the form of virtual workforces via the connective power of social networks. Highly skilled workers who could not participate in the traditional workforce for religious or cultural reasons, or because of disabilities, can now work virtually through social networks.

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