The effect of the skills gap on top global economies

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Skills gaps in the global economyThe lack of skilled labor needed to fill in-demand jobs is affecting employers and economies around the globe. Business growth is being hindered and both revenue and productivity are being lost as jobs stay vacant for extended periods of time—consequences of the skills gap noted by a significant number of employers in the 10 largest world economies.

Information technology leads as the most challenging area in which to fill positions, with seven of the top 10 global economies struggling to find the necessary skills, followed closely by engineering. Employers in the BRIC countries (Brazil, Russia, India and China) were among the highest to report challenges in recruiting high-skill labor, which is being countered by ambitious plans to hire full-time, permanent staff at a more accelerated rate in 2013.

The inability to fill high-skill jobs can have an adverse ripple effect, hindering the creation of lower-skill positions, company performance and economic expansion. Major world economies are feeling the effects of this in technology, health care, production and other key areas. The study underlines how critical it is for the government, the private sector and educational institutions to work together to prepare and reskill workers for opportunities that can help move the needle on employment and economic growth.

In countries with the largest gross domestic product, more than 6,000 hiring managers and human resource professionals were surveyed about the skills gap, long-term vacancies in their organizations and how productivity is being affected.

Hardest to fill positions for skilled labor
As science, engineering and technology roles continue to gain focus for businesses looking to stay competitive, the labor force is working to adapt to this increased demand. However, businesses are still struggling fill these high-skill positions:

  • U.S. – Information technology, sales and engineering
  • U.K. – Engineering, information technology and customer service
  • France – Production, sales and customer service
  • Germany – Information technology, engineering and sales
  • Italy – Production, creative/design and sales
  • Russia – Engineering, production and information technology
  • India – Research and development, information technology and marketing
  • China – Research and development, creative/design and engineering
  • Japan – Engineering, information technology and research and development
  • Brazil – Information technology, production and customer service

Percentage of companies that have open positions they can’t fill
More than half of companies in the BRIC countries report challenges in filling high-skill positions, and nearly three-quarters of employers in China stated they currently have positions for which they can’t find qualified candidates.

  • China – 74 percent
  • Brazil – 63 percent
  • Russia – 57 percent
  • India – 53 percent
  • Germany – 31 percent
  • Japan – 29 percent
  • U.S. – 28 percent
  • France – 26 percent
  • U.K – 23 percent
  • Italy – 18 percent

Negative impact of positions that stay open too long
For a large percentage of employers, problems have arisen from extended job vacancies, including less effective business performance, lower quality work, lower morale and higher employee turnover.

  • China – 81 percent
  • Brazil – 74 percent
  • Russia – 74 percent
  • India – 69 percent
  • Italy – 55 percent
  • France – 47 percent
  • U.K. – 41 percent
  • Japan – 40 percent
  • Germany – 39 percent
  • U.S. – 38 percent

For a more detailed look at the consequences and negative issues due to extended vacancies in each country, see below:

Loss of productivity

  • China – 65 percent
  • U.S. – 41 percent
  • Russia – 40 percent
  • Brazil – 39 percent
  • U.K. – 33 percent
  • India – 32 percent
  • Germany – 31 percent
  • Italy – 31 percent
  • Japan – 30 percent
  • France – 21 percent

Loss of revenue

  • Russia – 29 percent
  • China – 26 percent
  • Japan – 26 percent
  • Germany – 24 percent
  • India – 22 percent
  • U.S. – 21 percent
  • Italy – 19 percent
  • France – 17 percent
  • U.K. – 16 percent
  • Brazil – 15 percent

Inability to grow their business

  • China – 33 percent
  • Japan – 25 percent
  • France – 24 percent
  • U.S. – 22 percent
  • U.K. – 22 percent
  • India – 21 percent
  • Germany – 21 percent
  • Italy – 21 percent
  • Russia – 20 percent
  • Brazil – 19 percent

The gap between what businesses need to grow and what workers have been trained in needs to be closed, which can begin by workers focusing on gaining new skills, businesses providing on-the-job training, and government-assisted programs being offered to educate and prepare the workforce.

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