Global Skill Shortages

Global Skill Shortages

Malcolm S. Cohen and Mahmood A. Zaidi

As the world entered the twenty-first century, global skill shortages in many occupations were evident throughout the world. While these were mitigated by a global recession, there is no generally agreed upon method for measuring these shortages. This book discusses various theories for measurement. Using data collected from 19 developed countries in North and Latin America, Europe, and the Pacific region, the authors explore various aspects of skilled labor shortages, develop a methodology of measuring shortages by occupation, and provide estimates of the likelihood of the occurrence of such shortages. They develop labor market indicators which measure the degree of shortage or surplus in different occupations.

Chapter 8: Concluding Remarks

Malcolm S. Cohen and Mahmood A. Zaidi

Subjects: business and management, human resource management, economics and finance, industrial organisation, social policy and sociology, labour policy


I have come to thi&..that although many things can be known to be complex, nothing can be known to be simple. - Bertrand Russell, My Philosophical Development In this book we have sought to emphasize the great importance of understanding labour shortages by occupation in a global context. Labour shortages in certain occupations have been recognized as a problem in times of expansion as well as contraction. If labour market information can be used to determine actual as well as potential labour shortages, individuals will be able to make more informed education and career choices. Such information can also guide many aspects of governmental educational, training and immigration policies. Given the emergence of global markets and global production, we felt that it was necessary that studies of occupational shortages be global in scope. Countries seeking qualified workers have been drawing from a worldwide talent pool. Evidence of this phenomenon can be found in the immigration policies of countries experiencing worker shortages in certain occupations. The problem of identifying labour shortages by occupations has been a slippery one for economists because labour shortages cannot be measured directly in the same way wages can be. Unfortunately there is no generally agreed upon method for measuring labour shortages. An attempt has been made here to develop a methodology which has been used to measure labour shortages in 19 countries reflecting geographic diversity as well as various stages of economic development. The raison d’8tre of our effort in this book has been an...

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