Global Skill Shortages
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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.
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Chapter 4: Skill Shortage Studies in Selected Countries

Malcolm S. Cohen and Mahmood A. Zaidi


This chapter begins by summarizing some empirical studies on labour shortages in selected countries and regions. Most of the studies reported here relate to the period from 1995 to 1998, which corresponds to the period when the labour shortage indicators in this book were developed. These indicators are discussed in Chapter 5. AUSTRALIA According to the Australian Department of Employment ( 1998), skill shortages were evident in three broad occupational areas: professional occupations, which include mining engineers, selected computing professionals, registered nurses and health professionals; skilled trades, including toolmakers, boilermakers, sheet metal workers, chefs, pastry cooks and hairdressers; and service occupations such as childcare coordinators. Australia was experiencing a skills transformation as businesses rapidly changed their practices and developed new products using information technology. The rapid spread of new technology was shaping Australia's future occupational structure and the skill needs for most industries and occupations. A study in 1998 found that skill shortages in the information technology and telecommunication (IT&T) industries were being seen increasingly as a key constraint to the growth and competitiveness of industry in Australia and to the emerging information economy (Skill Shortage in Australia 's IT&T Industry, 1998). Evidence suggested that skill shortages existed for IT&T professionals with experience in certain specializations. In the long term, it would be necessary to ensure that there is an adequate supply of appropriately qualified graduates and other IT&T skilled workers to meet growth in IT&T occupations. An industry publication reported that there were worsening skills...

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