Global talent shortages have hit a record high, based on the latest research by ManpowerGroup: 54 percent of companies around the world say that they cannot find the skills they are looking for. And unsurprisingly, the skills most in demand are those that cannot be automated. Hands-on skills such as those possessed by electricians, welders, or mechanics; people skills such as those required for sales and marketing; judgement skills such as those exercised by quality control and technical staff.
The solution is well-known: even without the benefit of supporting research, companies are aware that they need to make themselves more attractive to potential and existing employees. The ManpowerGroup report, released just ahead of this week’s World Economic Forum summit, suggests that employers need to take this approach a step further and look at a hierarchy of employee needs of which pay is only the base. Statistics from a 2019 Harvard Business Review survey indicate that in the US at least, 89 percent of employees value additional benefits at least as much as pay.
Employees also want personalized career development: they want their skills recognized and utilized in appropriate and relevant ways, and they want to receive training and upskilling that makes them better at their job. But there is a gap here, according to the report’s findings. 49 percent of employees worldwide have been assessed for their skills and potential, but only 16 percent say they have ongoing conversations with their managers about their career.
In addition, the report recommends offering work flexibility, something that has consistently been found to increase job satisfaction and lower levels of burnout and stress. For example, Microsoft Japan tried implementing a four-day work week for one month last year, and found that productivity jumped by 40 percent. In the UK, over 90 percent of workers no longer follow a nine-to-five schedule.
“We know from conversations with candidates, clients and from our data that workers want flexibility and the opportunity to learn new skills,” said ManpowerGroup CEO Jonas Prising. “We are calling for leaders to shift their workforce demands closer to the needs of in-demand talent.”