What happens to recruiting when there is no-one to recruit?
In another 12 years, says a global survey, the world will be missing more than 85 million skilled workers. That’s more than the current population of Germany.
The survey is the most recent of Korn Ferry’s “Future of Work” series. It’s one of many recently to sound the manpower alarm. Numbers vary but they all say the same thing: the problem is not robots replacing people, we’re running out of people to replace people.
Not that populations are generally declining – although countries such as Japan have experienced low birth rates for several decades. We are still breeding: there are plenty of people. It’s the skill part that has gone wrong. We are on course to run out of skilled people.
According to the Global Human Capital Report from the World Economic Forum, the world has only developed 62% of its human capital. In 14 countries, less than half of the human capital has been developed.
The report measured 130 countries in four key areas of human capital development – Capacity, Deployment, Development and Know-How. It concludes by blaming governments for failing to translate investment in higher education into opportunities for higher-quality work.
EU No Further Ahead
A telling statistic comes in yet another survey focusing on European countries. Indicators suggest that the free movement of labor, a key benefit of EU membership, is unlikely to solve the skills shortage.
There are other pressures. The Korn Ferry report singles out the passage of the baby-boomer generation in the United States. Most of the boomers will have moved on by 2030, but the next generations will not have had the training or the time to be ready to take over the highly-skilled jobs left behind.
The impact could be great enough to affect leadership in some sectors.
The report cites the US as the current, undisputed leader in tech but concludes it faces losses as high as $162 billion of revenues per year if it fails to find more high-tech workers. In contrast, India will have a surplus of a million high-tech workers by 2030 and could become the new tech leader.
Constant Learning Will be Central
“The savviest organizations are taking on the onus of training talent themselves, hiring people straight out of school,” says Jean-Marc Laouchez, president of the Korn Ferry Institute. “Constant learning will be central to the future of work.”
Then there are today’s workers.
Writing this week in the publication “Emerging Europe” Tom Quigley, who believes Europe is “looking over an abyss of severe talent shortage,” states:
“The future of work doesn’t just require different skill sets and early access to talent potential. It also requires the adoption of entirely new ways of working for existing employees.”
This includes more flexible relationships, per-project engagements, working from home as well as workers taking responsibility for their own professional development.
While committing to help train the next generation, leaders will also need a comprehensive understanding of the current talent supply chain in order to have in place the skills they need.
Pity the person in the corner office.