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Global Skills Index Introduction

A Word From Our CEO

I am pleased to introduce the Hays Global Skills Index 2013, our second annual in-depth review of the global skilled labour market. The objective of our report is to highlight the efficiency of the labour market around the world, seeking to identify imbalances between the supply of skilled labour and the demand for those skills among employers.


 View the full Global Skills Index here and see how 30 economies compare

Having placed more than 230,000 people across 33 countries in jobs in the last year, we are acutely aware of how important it is to businesses that the pool of talent offers the skills they need to grow and flourish.

The report is rich in information that will be of interest to employers, employees, and policy makers across the 30 countries we have analysed. In my view, the most critical point this year is that the Hays Global Skills Index demonstrates the efficiency of labour markets is not directly related to the current state of the economy. Our Index shows structural factors have the greatest impact on the efficiency of the labour market. This finding clearly demonstrates to governments and employers that real improvements to labour markets can be achieved through policy change and action to alter the structures that create the inefficiency in the first place.

Economic conditions alone do not explain why employers find it hard to recruit the right talent despite high unemployment in local labour markets. We are all stakeholders in the global labour market and must encourage action to ensure job markets deliver the talent necessary for businesses and ultimately societies to thrive.

This year’s report reveals a strong correlation between the flexibility of wages and the ability of individual labour markets to provide employers with people who have the right skills. In the short and medium term, it’s clear countries with the most flexible labour markets are those which stand the best chance of weathering an unfavourable economic shock without suffering long-term and structural unemployment. This should serve as a strong incentive to governments to reduce restrictions on employers to ensure labour markets are as resilient as possible.

The Index also underlines the huge importance of education to the development of an efficient labour market. Although the globalisation of labour markets helps wealthier countries address their skills imbalances, it’s critical for education authorities and businesses to work closely to ensure educational systems are designed to provide students with the skills that their future employers require. This interplay between the worlds of work and education is, in the long-term, fundamental to the efficiency of the global labour market.

Using the findings of our report, we have established three key recommendations which we believe will help governments fix the structural failings in their labour markets. These recommendations directly address the importance of allowing labour markets to operate flexibly, of establishing a clear link between education and employment, and ensuring the widest possible group of skilled workers are participating in the labour market.

Today there are chronic and serious failures in labour markets across the world and there are no easy fixes that will make a positive impact on these inefficiencies. Without action, these mismatches and shortages will become worse, thereby restricting economic growth and slowing the creation of further new jobs. However, we believe that the principles outlined in our recommendations are relevant worldwide and, if enacted, will pay significant dividends. The supply of people with the right skills is the foundation for every successful organisation and finding the right person for a job makes businesses, economies and societies stronger. This is fundamental to what we do at Hays. It’s been a pleasure to put together a report that espouses these principles through clear and practical action.

 View the full Global Skills Index here and see how 30 economies compare