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Tuesday, September 28, 2010

Lack of Skilled Trades Intensifies Talent Mismatch

Despite high unemployment, many employers are struggling with a talent mismatch: individuals don’t possess the specific skills demanded by employers. In particular, lack of skilled tradespeople is making the issue more intense and there are no signs of it easing up any time soon, according to a new study released by Manpower, Strategic Migration – A Short-Term Solution to the Skilled Trades Shortage. This shortage is detrimental to the physical infrastructure, economic health and potential growth of nations and businesses.

Skilled trade shortages afflict 10 of the world’s largest economies, with the United States ranked number one as the most at risk. This talent crunch could potentially have a devastating effect on economic growth. Companies lack the talent they need to operate efficiently and prolonged unemployment of large sections of the workforce will continue to drag on the recovery and make turnaround unsustainable.

The shortage of skilled trade workers stems from several problems, including the retirement of older blue-collar workers without adequate replacements, technical training that isn’t meeting businesses’ needs, and the higher status accorded to knowledge work over more manual forms of labor among those beginning their careers.

Such workers can’t be offshored, but they can be onshored. When the right skills cannot be found within a country’s borders, strategic migration can involve recruiting from elsewhere to bring the necessary workers to the work, alleviating the immediate pressure of the talent shortage and allowing stakeholders the time and opportunity to work on long-term solutions to the talent mismatch.

In the short-term, strategic migration is a practical answer to the talent mismatch. The long-term approach will require employers to partner with governments, labor unions and academic institutions and individuals to train and reskill workers. Employers need to invest in developing their workers, provide for varied career paths for skilled tradespeople, understand how the aging workforce will impact their viability, and plan for growth by upskilling workers to provide the supply of talent to meet changing business demands.

Do you need to migrate talent to meet the shortfall in skilled trades?

1 comment:

  1. For over 20 years Austalia's training system has been employer driven. This has made little or no difference to the quality and supply of skilled workers. There are have been government funded initiatives to promote careers in trades - again, little impact. Employers need to look at the workplace culture, working conditions and salaries they offer. No consideration has been given in this report to the ethics of plundering skilled workers from developing countries which have made an investment in their training.