The companies across the glove are experiencing a shortage of skilled labour and the epidemic is weighing on business growth prospects.
According to new research from the “Grant Thornton International Business Report” (IBR), 39 per cent of businesses around the world are struggling to recruit the right people, with a lack of technical skills cited as the primary problem (64 per cent).
The concern is that a lack of talent will dampen business productivity, ultimately threatening future growth and profitability.
Even the United Nations in a report a few years ago predicted a serious contraction of the labour force around the world. Both China and Singapore are now and for the next few years seeing more people leave the labour force than entering.
With unemployment running so high in many mature economies, it is somewhat ironic that business leaders are concerned by a lack of skills. In the short term, they will need to plug these skills gaps with people from outside the organisation as best they can.
But in the longer term, they need to invest in their internal training programmes to mould the people that will help them deliver on strategy, innovate and ultimately grow.
He remarked that a business is nothing without its people, and that a great team with an average plan will be far more successful than an average team with a great plan.
The best people increase productivity, save an organisation time and money and ultimately grow the business. So, in the long term, business leaders need to be confident that their own training programmes will be able to deliver talent sustainably.
The “IBR Report 2013”, which contains data from interviews with 6,400 chief executive officers, managing directors, chairmen or other senior executives from all industry sectors globally from August to December last year, shows that the shortage of technical skills is as much an issue in developed as in emerging economies.
A lack of both work experience and qualifications is also mentioned, while roughly one in five business leaders cite restrictions on immigration.
The impact of these workforce issues on business growth prospects is evident. The IBR reveals that more than one in four businesses expect their 2013 expansion plans to suffer as a result of skills shortages.