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Global Talent Risk – Seven Responses

Global Talent Risk – Seven Responses

World Economic Forum in collaboration with The Boston Consulting Group

We are entering the era of unparalleled talent scarcity, which, if left unaddressed, will put a brake on economic growth around the world, and will fundamentally change the way we approach the workforce challenges.

No country, no organization can remain competitive unless talent – the engine force of economies – is there to ensure success of organizations in turbulent times, handle the political, social agenda and boost research and innovations.

Twenty years from now, the world will need millions of new business professionals, engineers, doctors, IT specialists, scientific researches, technicians, teachers, plumbers and nurses. Twenty years from now, we may not have them.

Just as the problem is multifaceted, so is the solution. While today’s rhetoric focuses on telling businesses to “create new jobs,” we believe that the creation of new jobs is inextricably tied to providing the right skills for those jobs through education, training and retraining. We must invest in the future by taking on the long-term task of training new talent and retraining existing talent. At the same time, we must compete with other jurisdictions to attract the best and the brightest from around the world and, critically – to retain the talent within our borders.

Industries and countries worldwide will require major increases of highly educated people in their workforces to sustain economic growth, argues a new report prepared by the World Economic Forum in collaboration with The Boston Consulting Group (BCG). The report, Global Talent Risk – Seven Responses, analyses projected talent shortages by 2020 and 2030 in 25 countries, 13 industries and 9 occupational clusters. The Full Report (PDF)

Download: Global Talent Risks Report 2011


Enabling the Globalization of Talent

As demographic and migration-related challenges become acute, how should government and business collaborate on the issue of talent mobility?

The following dimensions will be addressed:

- Labour market challenges globally

- National and regional policy responses

- Public-private sector solutions

Key Points

  • Both developed and developing countries face a talent crisis over the coming decades, which, if not averted, will dramatically reduce their productive capacity and economic growth.
  • The growing shortage of people with training and skills applies to all levels of society from doctors and engineers down to nurses and shop-floor workers.
  • Greater openness to migration would help solve the looming existential challenge, but large swathes of potential host societies are hostile to newcomers.
  • Removing barriers to labour mobility will bring its own problems to the supplier countries that will lose their own skills base, and their economic potential, even more rapidly than at present.
  • The talent shortage will be particularly acute in Europe, where 45 million more workers will be needed by 2030 to maintain current growth levels. The US will need 25 million more.

Download: Enabling the Globalization of Talent


World Economic Forum report calls for greater talent mobility to prevent global labour crisis
  • Stimulating Economies through Fostering Talent Mobility report demonstrates the magnitude of an impending global labour crisis by analysing talent shortages across 22 countries and 12 industry sectors and argues that talent mobility can stimulate economies in both developed and developing countries.
  • By 2030, the developed world will need millions of new employees to sustain economic growth (US: 26 million employees; Western Europe: 46 million employees).
  • Developing countries, not affected by ageing populations (the workforces of India and Brazil will grow by more than 200 million people over the next two decades), will also face huge skills gaps in some job categories due to low employability.
  • Full report, video of the Davos Talent Mobility session and more here


Download: World Economic Forum report calls for greater talent mobility to prevent global labour crisis


The Global Competitiveness Report 2010-2011

Switzerland tops the overall ranking in The Global Competitiveness Report 2010-2011 released by the World Economic Forum. The United States falls two places to fourth position, overtaken by Sweden (2nd) and Singapore (3rd). The Nordic countries continue to be well positioned in the ranking, with Sweden, Finland (7th) and Denmark (9th) among the top 10, and with Norway at 14th.  Sweden overtakes the US and Singapore this year to be placed 2nd overall. The United Kingdom, after falling in the rankings over recent years, moves back up by one place to 12th position.

The rankings are calculated from both publicly available data and the Executive Opinion Survey, a comprehensive annual survey conducted by the World Economic Forum together with its network of Partner Institutes (leading research institutes and business organizations) in the countries covered by the Report. 


Download: The Global Competitiveness Report 2010-2011

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Gary Watkins

Gary Watkins

Managing Director


C: +27 (0)82 416 7712

T: +27 (0)10 035 4185 (Office)

F: +27 (0)86 689 7862

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