Understanding the Global Talent Crisis

By: Linda Frietman

The statistics on the global talent crisis are shocking. A recent survey reported we haven’t seen talent shortages like these since 2007. From Intel reporting ‘countries and businesses’ strategically vulnerable, to companies discovering soft skills like ‘critical thinking’ are in short supply, businesses and governments are scrambling to solve these problems.

As both a female Entrepreneur and a Founder that’s spent years creating gamified talent and assessment solutions internationally I have acquired a unique perspective on the situation. Working internationally with municipalities and global corporations through programs like Ready4Work and HeroStory I’ve been grappling with the issues facing not only businesses and governments but also the unique problems present in the Education and Recruitment sectors too.

I can say on global level countries and governments are unified in their concern about the future of their workforce and, in particular, their students. In Asia winning the Innovation Award at BETT 2017 opened many doors and over the course of many meetings during the Conference a familiar theme revealed itself. From recruitment and education companies to government ministers they were all burdened with three core concerns:

1) The lack of insight into the future: i.e. which jobs and employment areas to focus on

2) How do we retain those we teach (i.e. Brain Drain)

3) How do we educate our students to a) best equip them for future study and employment and b) making sure what they learn matches their hard and soft skill capacities

I do not view these concerns as ‘Asia specific’. These same concerns were broached in CES a short while later and of course regularly here in the Netherlands. Having done business with many different countries I’d argue these concerns are almost the same globally, both in the Public and Private sector.

More importantly I would add two more points of global concern:

4) How do we indentify and make best use of soft skills (in students, potential recruits, employees, etc)

5) In training how do we balance the training of hard skills (particularly those in shortage like STEM subjects) while ensuring students develop and maximise soft skills (like team work, critical thinking, leadership etc)

These last two points are critical in my opinion if our response to the global talent crises is going to have any lasting impact. Across the globe countries are doubling down on STEM subjects, pushing their Education sectors to train the current and next generation of students in the much needed and so called ’21st century skills’.

It’s a good start perhaps but is it a solution that will satisfy the global need for passionate individuals with the right set of hard and soft skills? I think not.

The demand for 21st century hard AND soft skills must be met by techniques and technology that are 21st century themselves. We can no longer afford to put the burden of training the youth of tomorrow or identifying the best candidates to recruit with the practices, tools and mindset of old.

Naturally the next question then is: Which techniques and tools should we be engaging with (how and in what Sector)?

I will attempt to answer that and many related questions in the coming weeks.

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