Corporate Eye

The Global Talent Picture


Warm off the press:  Manpower Inc.’s 2010 Talent Shortage Survey.   After checking in with more than 35,000 employers across 36 countries and territories, Manpower found that:

Although the current global economic situation has increased the number of overall job seekers in labor markets worldwide, there is still a notable talent shortage in many countries and industry sectors. So the immediate problem is not the number of potential candidates. Rather, it is a talent mismatch: There are not enough sufficiently skilled people in the right places at the right times.

The biggest gaps are in Japan (76%), Brazil (64%), Argentina (53%), Singapore (53%), and Poland (51%).  In the Americas overall, 34% of employers are challenged to fill some positions, but that’s down a bit from 2009, and still a little below the global average.  North American employers are in much better shape than their South American counterparts, with only 14% having problems in the U.S. and 21% in Canada.  Whether North or South, technicians are the hardest to find, with secretaries/admins in the second position, followed by laborers and sales representatives–and those top categories remain similar across other regions as well.

As for Europe overall:  Ireland (4%), the United Kingdom (9%) and Norway (11%) are doing just fine in the talent match department, but in Italy, Germany, France and Greece 20-30% of respondents report gaps, with Sweden, Spain, and the Netherlands all hovering in the teens.

Although the report includes a category for the Middle East and Africa, it seems to be empty—i.e., there is no information included for any country in those regions except South Africa, where the talent match gap is reasonably small, at 16%.  On the other hand, Asia and the Pacific are above the global average, with high numbers across the board for a regional average of 41%.  That’s a substantial increase of nine percentage points over 2009.  Japan’s sky-high number leads the region, with Australia and Hong Kong also problematic at 45% and 44%  respectively.  Bright spot: India at just 16%.

World of Work’s Newsline offers this analysis from Manpower chairman and CEO Jeffrey A. Joerres:

Employers have gotten more specific about the combination of skill sets that they are looking for, not only seeking technical capabilities in a job match, but holding out for the person that possesses the additional qualities above and beyond that will help drive their organization forward.

Job seekers who want to be competitive will have to develop higher skill levels, Joerres concludes, as companies look for ways to do more with less.  Uncomfortable reality:  The employment future could include both an increasing number of unfilled positions and a rising level of unemployment.

(Our brightly colored globe is an “orthographic projection, centred on 40 degrees S, 170 degrees W, with shoreline data from GSHHS.”)

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Cynthia Giles has followed a serpentine career path from academia to publishing to marketing and design to information technology and corporate communications. There’s plenty of detail about this journey at, but briefly--the common theme has been ideas, and how to present them effectively. Along the way, she became an accidental expert on data warehousing and business intelligence, and for the past ten years she has combined corporate contracting with an independent consulting practice that focuses on marketing strategy for smaller businesses and non-profits. Having spent quite a bit of time looking for work, and anywhere from two weeks to two years inside a wide variety of American companies—she has given much thought to what works (and what doesn’t) when it comes to creating a great employment fit.