So many jobs, so few takers

The skill gap is not just a headache for emerging markets such as South Africa. (M&G)

The skill gap is not just a headache for emerging markets such as South Africa. (M&G)

Never before have there been so many educated people in the world, so it would seem simple to fill the top job positions with the best and brightest, particularly with the inter­net as an effective recruitment tool. Not so, say chief executives around the globe.

The skill gap is not just a headache for emerging markets such as South Africa, it also weighs heavily on powerful corporations worldwide, according to the findings of PwC’s 15th annual global chief executive survey for 2012, “Delivering results: Growth and value in a volatile world”.

Although jobless rates are high in the United States and Europe, particularly among the young, businesses say they cannot attract the digitally adept millennial generation to pursue careers in their industries, according to the report. “This is the talent crunch.
It’s a complex and frustrating challenge and it’s being felt worldwide.” This not only affects costs but also plays a role in lost business opportunities.

More than 1250 chief executives in 60 countries were surveyed. The results show that many are changing their talent management strategies rather than adjusting approaches to risk and capital investment.

Skills shortages are seen as a major threat to expansion. Forty-three percent of respondents said talent-related expenses rose more than expected in the past year; 31% said they were not able to innovate effectively because of talent constraints; 29% could not pursue a market opportunity; and 24% cancelled or delayed a key strategic initiative.

“The challenges are acute in knowledge industries such as pharmaceuticals, life sciences and technology, and in heavy industries such as industrial manufacturing and automotive,” the report says. “The need for technically skilled people to manage the increasing sophistication in production is strong, and the growth in demand for professionals in manufacturing is projected to be over 4% a year across all economies and to peak at over 10% in developing economies in 2020.”

Lisa Steyn

Lisa Steyn

Lisa Steyn is a business reporter at the Mail & Guardian. She holds a master's degree in journalism and media studies from Wits University. Her areas of interest range from energy and mining to financial services and telecommunication. When she is not poring over annual reports, Lisa can usually be found pottering about the kitchen. Read more from Lisa Steyn

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