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Global Skills Index


Labour markets across the globe are suffering from chronic and serious skills shortages. There are no quick fixes but it is clear in all cases that businesses and governments need to work together to build the right skills pipeline and ultimately, a sustainable global economic recovery.

Based on our research and daily experience placing people in more than 30 countries in work, Hays proposes a series of recommendations for policy makers, employers and international organisations.

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

Hays’ three recommendations for action are:

1. Governments must demonstrate real financial and political commitment to improving the flexibility of labour markets.

Our research demonstrates that countries where businesses can be agile in reacting to labour market dynamics, for instance through adjusting regional wages, significantly decrease their chances of talent mismatch and long-term unemployment. However, more still needs to be done in this area. We recommend:

A review of employment legislation and regulation to ensure that businesses have the flexibility to react to labour market shifts.

Promote greater flexibility in wages to act as a shock-absorber during difficult economic times and stem rises in unemployment.

Continued fiscal incentives aimed at encouraging firms to employ young people in search of work.

2. Education reform must be developed through close collaboration between governments and the business community.

There is still a serious disconnect between employers, higher education institutions and graduates when it comes to educational requirements. As a result, many young people are entering the jobs market with a qualification ‘on paper’ but without the necessary skills or experience to secure long-term employment. We recommend:

Businesses to take a longer-term outlook at the skills they are lacking in their organisations and commit to investment in education in those areas.

Governments to take a firmer stance to ensure professional training is embedded in educational policy frameworks.

A revised set of criteria to establish what constitutes a topperforming place of secondary education. While overall grades are important, these centres must also be assessed on their ability to get their students into long-term employment.

3. Businesses need to develop and implement dedicated policies for their youngest and oldest staff.

In a world where competition for talent is fierce, companies must work harder to engage the highest performing employees at both ends of the age spectrum. Drawing on the experience of older employees can also improve the loyalty and productivity of every worker, especially younger staff. We recommend:

Development of talent and training programmes to attract and nurture talent among the youngest high-potential employees – the so-called Millennial generation.

Businesses to continue to adapt their HR strategies to a world where more and more employees are working beyond the traditional retirement age.

Businesses to work in closer collaboration with representative bodies for the different age groups that make up their workforce.

We recognise that different governments, companies and institutions pursue a combination of all three of these initiatives to some degree. However, the overall picture shows these measures are not sufficient and activity needs to be increased and be better co-ordinated.


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