Robot | Global skills gap
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Will the rise of robots help fix the global skills gap?

26 Sep 2016

As the gap between skilled jobs and suitable workers grows for the fifth year running, recruiter Hays says robots are the answer to a global problem.

On the back of its Global Skills Index 2016 report, Hays has warned that a 14pc widening of the skills gap in Europe since 2011 has created a “chasm” across industries.

While Brexit, the uncertainty surrounding the US presidential race, and a gradual slowdown in some emerging economies were all supposed to slow down job growth, the opposite has proved true, according to Hays.


Difficult to attract

The report tells us that there has been an increased demand for skilled labour across the globe, and this has led to increased difficulty in employers attracting the workers they want.

Not unique to one – or even few – countries, this global issue is being tackled in various ways around the world. A Japanese initiative to attract female workers and skilled migrants is noted as one of the more successful state-led projects.

“The talent pool is now being supplemented by increased female participation in the workforce,” said Marc Burrage, MD of Hays in Japan. “Wages for temporary workers are rising and skilled migration is being endorsed by the government.”

Automation and robots could prove a more global solution, according to the new report. Already replacing workers in manual roles such as manufacturing, modern machines can now even drive, diagnose and write documentation.

This, in theory, allows more time for people to upskill and enter into a different rung of the workforce, with Hays calling for further investment in future technologies.

One plus three

However, the numbers don’t really add up, as Hays claims 1m industrial robots already in operation have been “directly responsible” for creating 3m jobs – this, if anything, is creating a chasm all of its own.

Alistair Cox, chief executive of Hays, said a general global economic recovery is putting extreme pressures on employers seeking workers from the labour market.

“Businesses are challenged with both the difficulty of finding the right talent and also keeping hold of it,” he said. “There are no signs that these challenges are abating in any way.

“As evidenced in this year’s report, governments also have a large part to play in ensuring that labour markets run to their full potential.

“We have seen examples of positive change happening across a number of labour markets, proving that by identifying these issues and taking decisive action, the skills gap can be closed.”

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Gordon Hunt
By Gordon Hunt

Gordon Hunt joined Silicon Republic in October 2014 as a journalist. He spends most of his time avoiding conversations about music, appreciating even the least creative pun and rueing the day he panicked when meeting Paul McGrath. His favourite thing on the internet is the ‘Random Article’ link on Wikipedia.

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