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MANPOWER: ManpowerGroup Calls to Bridge the Skill Gap


Recent Gauteng Business News

With the skill gap very much an issue in certain workplaces, it is reported that one third of employers worldwide report difficulty filling business-critical jobs, ManpowerGroup, the world leader in innovative workforce solutions, recommends increased talent mobility. Moving people to where the work is, should be one component of a co-ordinated public-private response to ongoing talent mismatches.

ManpowerGroup, a strategic partner to the World Economic Forum (WEF), released its new Fresh Perspectives paper titled, “Moving People to Work: Leveraging Talent Mobility to Address the Talent Mismatch in the Human Age.” The paper calls for a collaborative effort to attract individuals with in-demand skills, to bridge the skill gap, both domestically and across international borders.

“While the topic raises passions in light of continuing high unemployment, talent mobility is one proven way to address the talent supply and demand imbalance that currently exists in the labour market,” said Jeffrey A. Joerres, ManpowerGroup Chairman and CEO. “It is by no means the only answer and must form part of a multi-stakeholder response, but with OECD societies aging and emerging markets struggle to find the required talent, there is a critical need to expand the view of talent sources.”

Strategic Plans to Bridge the Skill Gap

According to ManpowerGroup’s 2011 Talent Shortage Survey, 34 percent of employers are having difficulty filling vacancies, yet in response to ongoing economic uncertainty many governments have tightened immigration policies. While long-term education and training systems need to be overhauled to supply a better pipeline of talent to ensure growth, many of the skills employers need cannot be developed quickly enough and thus leaving a sufficient skill gap in the process. Strategic migration is the best short-term way of getting the right people in the right place at the right time.

Talent mobility does not merely concern bringing in foreign workers, talent mismatches can also be addressed nationally by moving domestic talent within national borders. Although the recession has impeded the ability to relocate for work due to not being able to sell homes or pay relocation costs, ManpowerGroup research shows that 27 percent of workers are more willing to move for work since the recession.

A Short Term Solution to Minimising the Skill Gap

Peter Winn, Manpower SA Managing Director comments: Through the collaboration of government and the private sector, as well as the implementation of the strategies identified in this Fresh Perspectives paper, a short term solution to the high unemployment rate in South Africa, will be reached. This will assist to achieve one of the presidents goals that he has identified in the State of the Nation speech, that is, to build a country where millions more South Africans have decent employment opportunities.

To “manufacture” talent for the long term, national governments, academia and industry need to work together to better align education and workforce training with the needs of industry.

This analysis of skills needed now and in the future must involve governments and educators to invest in the right kind of training in order to plug skills gaps. Businesses should be incentivised to develop talent locally and collaborate with schools to make sure they are providing the skills and training that the marketplace needs, thus bridging the required skill gap.

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