Jobs and the Future of Work

Why salaries could finally be on the way up

A job-seeker completes an application at a career job fair in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, U.S. July 25, 2013.  REUTERS/Mark Makela/File Photo - TM3ECA60NWJ01

Employers’ efforts to lure the right people puts power in the hands of employees. Image: REUTERS/Mark Makela/File Photo -

Emma Charlton
Senior Writer, Forum Agenda
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Tired of reading about robots coming for your job?

There’s good news for job seekers around the globe in Manpower’s latest report: hiring demand is up and talent shortages are at a 12-year high, showing companies are actively seeking skilled workers.

And the hunt for people is affecting every sector, according to the Talent Shortage Survey for 2018. Almost half (45%) of employers say they can’t find the skills they need, the highest level since 2006, and for large organizations that number is even higher at 67%.

Many companies can’t find workers with the right skills.
Image: Manpower 2018 Talent Shortage Survey

“While artificial intelligence is fast-expanding what can be automated, technology is redefining rather than replacing in-demand roles,” the report said. “Skilled trades – electricians, welders, mechanics and more – as well as sales representatives, engineers, drivers and technicians have ranked among the top five hardest roles to fill for the past 10 years.”

The findings echo themes outlined in the World Economic Forum’s Future of Jobs Report, which explores how the Fourth Industrial Revolution is disrupting labour markets. As companies embrace the digitalization and automation of many tasks, finding candidates with the right blend of technical and soft skills is increasingly challenging. Both reports underscore the need for continuous development to help employees adapt for the future.

What’s driving the skills shortage?
Image: Manpower 2018 Talent Shortage Survey

There’s also good news if you’re currently employed. More than half of companies surveyed by Manpower were investing in learning platforms and development tools, up from 20% in 2014.

Almost two-thirds (64%) of employers are upskilling people in hard skills through technical certifications, apprenticeships and programming courses, and 56% were investing in soft skills including customer service, sales and communications.

Employers’ efforts to lure the right people puts power in the hands of employees. Companies are improving benefits, increasing vacation allowances and providing well-being incentives to attract people, and 29% of employers are considering increasing salaries, up 3% compared with a year earlier.

Companies are offering better incentives to lure and retain the right people.
Image: Manpower 2018 Talent Shortage Survey

Employers in Japan, Romania and Taiwan reported the most difficulty filling positions, while those in the UK, Ireland and China had the least difficulty.

Have you read?

The Forum’s Future of Jobs Report also emphasized how important it is to address the skills gap. As well as investing in reskilling and upskilling current employees, companies are also likely to turn to external contractors, temporary staff and freelancers to address their requirements, it said.

Future of Jobs Survey 2018, World Economic Forum
Image: The future workforce will need different skills.

As skills needs develop and evolve, the Future of Jobs Report said wider reforms are needed in education and training, labour-market policies and business approaches.

“The inherent opportunities for economic prosperity, societal progress and individual flourishing in this new world of work are enormous,” Klaus Schwab, Founder and Executive Chairman of the World Economic Forum wrote in the report. “Catalysing positive outcomes and a future of good work for all will require bold leadership and an entrepreneurial spirit from businesses and governments, as well as an agile mindset of lifelong learning from employees.”

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Jobs and the Future of WorkEducation and Skills
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