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Hays Global Skills Index 2012: Chronic skills shortages despite high unemployment

Tom Newcombe , 12 Nov 2012

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Many countries are witnessing high and rising unemployment, while still suffering from chronic skill shortages in crucial professions as a result of labour market inflexibility, global competition for talent driving up salaries and poor inadequate education and training.

These are the findings of a report, Hays Global Skills Index 2012, published today by professional recruiting group, Hays.

The report shows that the most severe shortages are in engineering, IT, utilities and construction.

It claims that in Europe there is an estimated shortage of 76,400 engineers and 38,000 in the IT profession.

The report shows that each country surveyed faces specific issues in its skilled Labour force. Sixteen of the 27 countries are suffering some degree of labour market tightness, despite the global economic slowdown. This drives inflation and leaves many valuable roles unfilled, thereby constraining economic growth, the report claims

The report claims that an early sign of skills shortages is 'talent mismatch' - an inability of employers to find the staff they need despite an available pool of labour.

To combat the mismatch of skills availability and demand, the report has proposed a long-term three-point action plan for policymakers:

• Governments should focus on the skills their economies lack and take appropriate measures to attract the relevant people through targeted immigration

• Employers should be offered incentives to increase their provision of relevant training

• Governments need to work with employers and educational authorities to implement a series of measures and incentives to persuade young people to acquire the skills that are most needed on both a country and international level.

Tina Ling, director general, Hays France & Luxembourg, said: "In certain sectors, the number of jobs far outweighs the number of suitable candidates. There is a distinct lack of specialists across Europe with the niche skills that are needed by employers."

Alistair Cox, Hays chief executive, said: "The report illustrates a major paradox in the world's skilled labour markets.

"Many countries are suffering chronically high levels of unemployment, yet employers are struggling to find enough skilled individuals to fill the posts available."

Cox added: "Ironically the world is short of the very skills that would help stimulate economic growth and thereby create opportunities for the unemployed."

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