Looming Talent Shortage Seen Threatening Sustained Growth

Report urges increased labor mobility to meet demands for economic growth


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Boston — January 18, 2011 — World Economic Forum The Boston Consulting Group (BCG)



  • Demand will be biggest for highly educated professionals, technicians and managers. Professionals will be in particularly high demand in the trade, transportation and communications industries in developing nations.
  • In the next two decades, demand for professionals in manufacturing will peak at more than 10 percent in developing countries, exceeding 4 percent across all countries sampled. (Labor-demand growth rates are compounded annually.)
  • Health care research and development alone will generate enormous demand for skilled labor worldwide.
  • Employees without critical knowledge and technical skills will be left behind.











  • Introduce strategic workforce planning to address imbalances between labor supply and demand.
  • Ease migration to attract the right talent globally.
  • Foster "brain circulation" to mitigate brain drain.
  • Increase employability by advancing technological literacy and cross-cultural learning skills.
  • Develop a talent "trellis" by focusing on horizontal and vertical career and education paths.
  • Encourage temporary and virtual mobility to access required skills easily.
  • Extend the pool by tapping women, older professionals, the disadvantaged and immigrants.



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