Shortages of skilled workers were among the most challenging obstacles faced by businesses in the 1990s. As G. Pascal Zachary (2000), writing in the Wall Street Journal, observed, ‘with skilled workers in high demand, employers are hunting them down - no matter where they live’. Given the emergence of global markets and global production it is important that studies of occupational skill shortages be global in scope. As pointed out by Jeffrey Sachs (1 997), ‘for the first time in history, almost all of the world’s people are bound together in a global capitalist system. This momentous development forces us to think anew about the world economy’. Countries seeking qualified workers are drawing from a worldwide talent pool instead of a national labour force, forcing one to think in terms of ‘brain circulation’ rather than ‘brain drain’. Evidence of this phenomenon is found in the immigration policies of countries experiencing worker shortages in certain fields: Canada’s immigration policy is already focused on accepting workers with special skills; Australia’s immigration policy is aimed at easing the immigration of highly skilled workers; Taiwanese engineers leave Silicon Valley to start businesses at home but keep links with businesses in the United States; Singapore’s government provides tax incentives to companies that bring in needed talent from other countries; and the United States high-tech industry increasingly draws on foreign talent. As national economies are becoming deeply intertwined with one another and the global economy is becoming more closely integrated, it becomes increasingly important to study...
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