Forget about robots – a talent shortage will cost us billions

Career + Application


The story has been in all the media: “Robots are going to take your job!” A new Korn Ferry study begs to differ: the biggest issue isn’t that robots are taking all – the jobs – it’s that there aren’t enough humans to take them. According to Korn Ferry, by 2030 we will see “a global human talent shortage of more than 85 million people, or roughly equivalent to the population of Germany”, write the authors. Left unchecked, in 2030 that talent shortage could result in about 8.5 trillion dollars in unrealized annual revenues.

“Future of Work: The Global Talent Crunch,” examined talent supply and demand in 20 economies across the world in three broad industries: finance/business services, technology/media/telecommunications, and manufacturing. Projections were based on forecasts from international labour organisations and government statistics and then analysed by outside economists.

Much of the shortage is based on simple demography and low birth rates in Japan and many European nations. In the United States, the majority of baby boomers will have moved out of the workforce by 2030, but younger generations will not have had the time or training to take many of the high-skilled jobs left behind. By 2030, Russia could have a shortage of up to six million people, and China could be facing a shortage twice as large. The United States could also be facing a deficit of more than six million workers, and it’s worse in Japan, Indonesia and Brazil, each of which could have shortages of up to 18 million skilled workers.

The savviest organisations therefore are taking on the training of talents themselves, increasing their hiring of people straight out of school, says Jean-Marc Laouchez, president of the Korn Ferry Institute. These firms are also trying to instil a culture of continuous learning and training. “Constant learning – driven by both workers and organisations – will be central to the future of work, extending far beyond the traditional definition of learning and development,” he says.



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