Is Your Talent Shortage Actually Talent Shortsightedness?

We’ve got some positive news for far-sighted recruiters in sectors with systemic skill gaps. A new report suggests most workers globally are interested in working in a different country.

Skill shortages are a common resourcing challenge in most sectors. We’re speaking to more and more companies struggling to find quality hires to fill critical roles, particularly technical and specialist ones.

Recently we’ve been working with several pharmaceutical companies at a loss to recruit the right calibre of engineers and R&D professionals within their operating markets. The big reason is endemic and deep-rooted: a dwindling pipeline of STEM students leading to intense competition for scarce talent, both from within pharma and beyond. The problem is compounded for this specific skillset by a prevailing risk-aversion: in Western workforces at least, rampant career-building is typically not in the engineering mindset.

However, good news is at hand. According to a recent survey of global workers, it appears the talent is out there (and better still, keen to hear from you). If you want to fill those troublesome positions, the onus is on you to extend your horizons.

Earlier this year, Boston Consulting Group and Recruit Works Institute jointly published a report into job seeker trends, entitled Increasing Global Mobility. One of its key findings was that among 13,000+ people surveyed in 13 countries, 64% expressed an interest in finding work in a different country. What’s more, this desire is widespread: only in Japan did more than half of respondents indicate zero interest in moving countries now or in the future.

These are revealing findings for sectors like pharma, which rely so heavily on highly specialised skills concentrated in pockets globally. The implication is that, if you pick the right markets and nail your local hiring processes, you can plug skills gaps from previously unexpected sources.

That’s not to say hiring cross-border is easy. There are myriad administrative and legislative hurdles to overcome, not to mention cultural holes in the road to swerve, from language barriers to culture shock to repatriation issues.

Meanwhile, the country you’re hiring into is every bit as important as the market you’re exploring. If you want a beautifully detailed way to research migration flows between different countries and regions, we have this treat for you. Wherever in the world you search, it will help your cause if your host country is in the upper reaches of the Global Talent Competitiveness Index.

Those are some of the pitfalls facing cross-border recruiters. But as with so much in our industry, bold minds and fresh thinking are needed to revive stagnant waters. Bemoaning skills shortages is out of step with our globalised talent market, two-thirds of which is interested in pursuing their career overseas.

Many companies in specialised sectors such as pharma are already seizing the opportunities presented by this new fluidity in the world of work. The question for all recruiters in these sectors is: are your competitors among them?

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