Manpower predicts shortage of skilled labor

According to a new study by Manpower Inc., businesses, governments and trade associations need to work together to develop long-term strategies to alleviate talent shortages in the skilled trades.

Worldwide, skilled trades positions are the hardest to fill, according to Milwaukee-based Manpower’s global Talent Shortage Survey of 35,000 employers across 36 countries and territories.

In a new World of Work Insight Paper titled: “Strategic Migration – a Short-Term Solution to the Skilled Trades Shortage,” Manpower warns that as the global economy recovers, it is necessary to implement strategic migration policies to create a mobile workforce and plug the gap of skilled workers.

In the survey, “skilled trades” refers to a broad range of job titles that require workers to possess specialized skills, traditionally learned over a period of time as an apprentice. Examples of “skilled trades” jobs include: electricians, carpenters, cabinet makers, masons/bricklayers, plumbers and welders.

The lack of skilled blue-collar workers could impede the progress of infrastructure projects and inhibit national growth – such as transportation in India and power in Brazil, for example. It is a problem that national governments must address for the long-term to foster economic health and fuel business growth. In the meantime, increasing the mobility of those workers can help ease the talent shortage.

“As the global recovery gathers pace, cultivating future talent and alleviating the shortage of skilled workers is becoming vital to ensure economic growth,” said Jeffery Joerres, Manpower Inc. chairman and chief executive officer. “With unemployment high around the world, migration is an emotive subject but strategic migration will be necessary to create a global workforce and alleviate the current shortage. Countries should be developing policies which facilitate positive migration to fuel economic growth through providing skilled workers where they are needed, rather than creating barriers to immigration.”

Joerres added, “Employers and governments need to bring honor back to the skilled trades. They must look ahead to forecast their future skill demands in this area and start working to alleviate this now.”

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