Companies must now face the economic reality of the talent shortage, caused by the lack of available candidates as well as the increasing rarity of specific qualifications. To combat the shortage of workers, some companies are turning to international mobility as a solution to recruitment problems.

Regardless of industry, every country in the world now faces the problem of talent shortage. The manual labour sector is the most severely affected, but the retail, hospitality and catering, IT and healthcare industries, to name just a few, also face a lack of available workers with appropriate training.

Published in October 2016, ManpowerGroup’s most recent annual survey on the Talent Shortage states that globally, 40% of employers face recruitment issues – a record figure which has risen every year since 2006.

 

Causes of the talent shortage

Businesses’ priority is now to understand the causes of this talent shortage so that they can review their recruitment strategies and employee retention rates. 

With mass unemployment an issue across Europe, many employers reference the lack or even total absence of available candidates, indicating the labour market’s failure to balance supply and demand.

This phenomenon can be explained by companies’ difficulty in predicting their future recruitment needs and inability to obtain a required skill at any given time, as well as by an absence of specific technical skills in the local market. Candidates’ lack of experience and training is also acknowledged as a barrier to recruitment. It marks the end of the ‘plug and play’ business model which states that for every need there exists a corresponding skill. 

Furthermore, the world of work has changed. It is now unusual for workers to dedicate their entire career to the same company. Young graduates search for a company where they can develop professionally and obtain specific qualifications, and will move on if it does not meet their expectations. Moreover, many of them now also decide to go down the freelancing route.

 

International mobility as a solution 

The talent war has reached an unprecedented level. To combat this shortage, HR is endeavouring to develop alternative strategies. Around 30% of recruiters say they try to search for candidates outside of traditional recruiting grounds, whilst 26% explore alternative recruitment stratégies. 

Although the present trend is to provide training to current employees in order to develop their skills, some employers make the choice to outsource the recruitment process by enlisting specialised companies who know exactly how to find candidates. Recruitment agencies look for model candidates and managers with specific qualifications, thereby saving time and guaranteeing qualified candidate profiles. Although this could be seen as diminishing the HR role, it is clear that outsourcing is a viable option and ensures qualitative recruitment. 

Furthermore, the modernisation of HR necessitates a greater openness to hiring internationally. The talent shortage is a global phenomenon, but it affects different industries in different geographic areas. Given that supply and demand varies between international markets, one solution is to counter a lack of local talent by recruiting in other countries. 

Despite difficulties in obtaining data, it is estimated that 1.5 million French citizens have chosen to live abroad. Conversely, France welcomes the fifth greatest number of foreign workers out of all European countries. In this respect, it seems pertinent to regard international mobility as a solution to the talent shortage. 

However, any expatriation plan warrants extensive preparation by both the candidate and the recruiter to guarantee its success.

Florine PERILLAUD by Florine PERILLAUD

Human Resources Assistant