Preparing for the Perfect Storm

 -  9/13/07

There is a storm brewing that threatens to disrupt the global marketplace.

There is a storm brewing that threatens to disrupt the global marketplace — the baby boomers’ impending retirement in developed countries, aging populations worldwide because of declining birth rates and longer average life spans, a widening skills gap and an insufficient amount of people entering the workforce are all factors that, when combined, could create a perfect storm that will threaten every type of industry and employee group.

Some of the storm warnings are already out there. The United Kingdom predicts that it will face a shortage of up to 500,000 professionals with top-end networking skills within the next three years. This means South Africa can brace itself for some serious headhunting from U.K. companies, a situation that could exacerbate a local shortage.

It is estimated that by 2010, the number of 35- to 44-year-olds (those normally expected to move into senior management ranks) will have declined by 10 percent. This age group is expected to shrink by 19 percent in the United Kingdom, by 27 percent in Germany and by 9 percent in Italy.

By 2010, India will need about 250,000 leaders at different levels, according to the country’s National Association of Software Services Companies, but it is expected there will be a shortfall of one-third of that number.

We are receiving many such storm warnings from all over the world. The question is: Will global leaders heed these warnings?

During the research for my book “Leadership Without Borders,” I surveyed and interviewed hundreds of senior leaders around the globe, and I found that the need to attract and retain talent is on the mind of every global leader.

“We are experiencing a shortage of skilled labor globally,” said Luc Bollen of Hilton Hefei in China. “The economic growth of China surpasses even the rate at which China graduates people through its universities. There is still a serious shortage of skilled labor and management in the labor-intensive hospitality industry.”

Clive J. Pegg of Bayer CropScience in India echoed the sentiment.

“There appears to be less loyalty to particular companies than there has been in the past,” Pegg said. “Even though you have succession plans in place, unplanned turnover is dislocating businesses.”

Article Keywords:   technology  

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