[OPE] A skills crisis?

From: Jurriaan Bendien <adsl675281@telfort.nl>
Date: Mon Jun 01 2009 - 07:01:11 EDT

Help still wanted, global talent crunch persists
Reuters Thu May 28, 2009

NEW YORK (Reuters) - Global employers still have trouble finding the right
people for open positions, even as candidate resumes pile up amid recession.

A global talent crunch has eased slightly, but is set to worsen in coming
years because of demographic trends, according to an annual survey by global
employment services company Manpower Inc.

Worldwide, 30 percent of employers reported trouble filling positions
because of the lack of suitable talent, down slightly from 31 percent who
said so a year ago, according to Manpower, which polled 39,000 employers in
33 countries.

While many more people are looking for work, they often lack the skills, or
experience, that employers need.

"Work is getting more complex, employers are looking for more specific
skills, so there is more of a mismatch between supply and demand," said Mara
Swan, Manpower's executive vice president for global strategy and talent.

The trend points to a looming shortage of skilled workers -- or "talent
shortage" -- that will emerge once economies recover, according to Manpower.
The working population is aging in both developed and emerging economies,
while lower birth rates point to a dwindling supply of workers in coming

Employers need to be ready.

"(The recession) gives a false feeling that this is not something we need to
spend time on," Swan said. "As employers, it may be making us a little lazy,
because it makes us think it's not going to happen."

For the second year in a row, vacancies were hardest to fill in skilled
trades, which include electricians, plumbers and carpenters. Sales
representatives ranked second on the global list, followed by technicians,
engineers and managers.

Manpower found stark regional differences.

Majorities of those surveyed in Romania, Taiwan, Peru and Japan reported
feeling the talent shortage, and employers in Australia, Costa Rica and
Poland also had problems matching people with jobs.

By contrast, their counterparts in Ireland, Spain and the United Kingdom had
far less trouble filling positions. In India, 80 percent of employers have
no difficulty matching candidates and jobs; 85 percent said so in China.

In the United States, where engineers and nurses are most in demand, the
talent crunch has eased amid recession. Nineteen percent of those surveyed
said they faced a crunch, down from 22 percent a year earlier, and less than
half the figure in 2006.


When there is excess supply of workers, like now, companies can be picky
about whom they hire, but once the talent shortage deepens, it becomes more
important for companies to manage their image, or "employer brand," Swan
said. Continued...

Some companies do a good job of managing their brand, such as Finland's
Nokia, which asks potential employees if they want to work at the heart of
the mobile Internet revolution, or Apple Inc, which trumpets its design
capabilities. In such places, new hires know what they are getting into.

Key for employers is keeping their message consistent with what new hires
actually experience. If it is not consistent, worker morale suffers, and so
can the brand, especially given the proliferation of social networking sites
and anonymous company reviews on sites like glassdoor.com.

"If you're not actively managing your brand, someone else is going to,"
Manpower's Swan said.

(Editing by Matthew Lewis)

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