GNcareers, from Gulf News

Job News: So many jobseekers, so few skilled

So many jobseekers, so few skilledImage Credit: Supplied

Although a lot of people are jobless and desperately looking for a regular source of income, according job news alswhere, employers around the world are having difficulty filling positions.

In 2013, there were at least 12.5 million people aged 15 to 24 years old who were unemployed, up from more than 11.5 million in 2007, according to the International Labour Organisation.

Older professionals have not fared well either, with those in their fifties facing the likelihood of losing their jobs or having their incomes reduced. The Economist reported that the proportion of ''working-age'' Americans who have jobs have dropped from 65 per cent in 2000 to 59 per cent in 2014.

However, a significant number of organisations, nearly four in ten (35 per cent) worldwide are unable to fill vacancies due to a lack of available talent, according to a talent shortage survey by Manpower Group in 2013 that surveyed 38,000 companies across 42 countries.

Employers said there seems to be insufficient supply of skilled trade workers, engineers, sales representatives, technicians, accounting and finance staff, management executives, information technology (IT) staff, drivers, secretaries and labourers that have the right competencies.

The shortage can be due to a lot of factors and is aggravated because, while the workplace is changing and doing business becomes more complex, the skills of the existing talent pool are not up to date.

''As business becomes even more complex, there is increasing demand for the most talented individuals. Yet far too many people are being left behind. Young adults need to be better equipped with the skills to gain rewarding employment, and employees will have to be adaptable as the skills they need to remain employable could change over their careers,'' according to a report by Chartered Global Management Accountant (CGMA).

The study pointed out that there is an oversupply of people with low-level skills and a shortage of those with advanced, high-level competencies. ''There are mismatches between supply and demand in the labour market.''

In the study by Manpower Group, employers were asked to name the chief factors contributing to the talent shortage and the largest proportion (34 per cent) cited a lack of specific technical competencies or hard skills required for a particular role.

About a quarter (24 per cent) said that the general lack of experience is at the root of the shortage, while 19 per cent said candidates don’t have the required employability or soft skills, which include interpersonal skills, professionalism, enthusiasm/ motivation, flexibility and adaptability.

Tarun Aggarwal, business head at Naukrigulf, which conducts a bi-annual hiring outlook survey with employers in the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) countries, said the shortage can also be attributed to the rapid expansion of economies.

''The UAE and Gulf economies are growing at a brisk pace leading to increase in skill requirements both in quantity and quality. This demand can be plugged by aligning (vocational) education curricula with industry requirements as well as increasing intake of skilled professionals,'' Aggarwal told Gulf News.

However, a college degree or diploma does not necessarily provide jobseekers with the right skills. Job news like the The World Economic Forum report, Global Risks 2014, noted that ''many current graduates are discovering that despite their academic qualifications, they lack the specific technical and professional skills demanded by the ever-changing jobs market.''

CGMA said the ''disconnects'' between education, skills and jobs have implications for young professionals, employers and educators. ''These issues also concern the policymakers who are responsible for society as a whole. Each of these stakeholders should accept responsibility for the part they can play and collaborate with others to tackle this crisis.''

For those who are already employed, the key to ensuring their career growth is to identify what skills are being sought after and undertake the necessary training.

''It is critical for employees to keep abreast of changes in their industry. Even if training is not provided by the organisation, employees should aim to invest in their own learning for professional and personal development regularly,'' said Raj Ravichandra, co-founder and managing partner at Kompass.

''Employees should be proactive and ensure they have a personal development plan for themselves to which they are working towards. Their manager and human resources must sign off on this and provide support — it must be driven however by the employee themselves.''

Companies also have a role in identifying potential talent within their organisation and provide them the right training and development.

''Companies must be prepared to use an appropriate talent management strategy to select capable employees from within. Promoting from within retains the investment made in employees and minimises the time required for these employees to catch up on the ‘unsaid way of working’ such as the culture and politics within the organisation,'' Ravichandra told Gulf News.

''It also helps to retain talent who may otherwise leave to competitors or organisations in other industries.''

Source: Cleofe Maceda, Senior Reporter,