Skills gap hampers recruitment efforts

BY Matt Atkins

A PwC report suggests businesses are planning a recruitment drive in the next 12 months as growth approaches pre-2008 levels. Organisations in the emerging markets are expected to make the most net hires, particularly in the Middle East, South East Asia and China. The most active sectors are expected to be business services, insurance and technology.

Despite this positive outlook, business leaders are worried about filling the roles they need most. Almost two-thirds of firms (63 percent) are concerned about the availability of candidates with the right skills, a 5 percent increase on 2013. CEOs in Africa, South East Asia and South Africa are particularly alarmed by the lack of skills. Technology and engineering firms are feeling the brunt of the problem.

This skills gap is only expected to increase, causing continuing headaches for emerging nations. For the past few years, large multinationals have been busy cherry-picking the best talent from these regions. In countries such as China and India, where wages are increasing and working conditions improving, employees are beginning to favour domestic employers. However, western firms are now widening their search for new talent into Indonesia, Vietnam and the Philippines.

Business leaders are looking to the authorities to do more to help to plug the skills gap. Two in five CEOs say creating a skilled workforce should be a government priority and over half believe regulation is hampering their efforts to attract talent.

However, the overwhelming majority of business leaders believe they need to change their approach to attracting and retaining talent, though the majority have yet to do so.

“Business leaders are looking for people with a far wider range of skills than ever before,” says Michael Rendell, global HR consulting leader at PwC. “Gone are the days of life-time careers; chameleonlike employees who apply their skills whenever and wherever they’re needed are now in high demand. Businesses need to get out of the mindset that new skills equals new people. The most successful organisations will combine recruitment with developing their own people to be more adaptable to its changing plans.”

Report: The talent challenge: Adapting to growth

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