Report calls for targeted immigration to combat global skills shortages

Hays, the global recruitment company has issued its Global Skills Index 2012, a report on the state of the global labour market. It has studied labour markets worldwide and come up with findings and recommendations to help eliminate skills shortages in the global workforce. This is the first time Hays has carried out 'an in-depth review of global skills and employment trends'.

Hays enlisted Oxford Economics, a global forecast and research company originally founded by Oxford University to conduct its research. The Report is subtitled Critical Skills Imbalances: A Barometer of Factors Impacting Global Skills Mobility.

The report says that all countries face two problems;
• There is a 'chronic and significant imbalance of skills around the world… exacerbated by inflexible labour and immigration legislation in many jurisdictions.
• Some skills are in shortage around the world, such as engineering, infrastructure development and healthcare

The report includes a Three Point Action Plan which, the report says, would help all countries cope with skills shortages.

1) Governments must identify what skills they require and then look to attract immigrant workers with those skills.
The report says that all governments should make migration much simpler and quicker. They should standardise visa application systems and ensure that visas can be processed within 30 days. Temporary work visas should last for longer.

2) Employers should be offered incentives to train staff
The report says that, for employers, training staff is often 'a sunk cost'. It makes no sense for employers to train staff when those staff members are free to go and work for someone else who will benefit from their expense. Employers should therefore be offered tax incentives to train people to offset the cost.

3) Governments should work with employers to draw up strategic plans to increase training for shortage skills.
The report says that many graduates are out of work, particularly in Europe. At the same time, there are enormous skills shortages. This suggests a 'policy failure on a major scale' by governments. Governments should provide incentives to universities who provide training in the shortage skills areas. Incentives should be given to students to study in the required areas.

In his introduction, Hays chief executive Alistair Cox says he hopes the report will 'help policymakers and businesses to start to put in place the measures required [to] create more jobs, stimulate economic growth and provide meaningful opportunities for millions of people.'

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