As of writing China is all the rage in the world’s
media, and much of the focus is on the shortage of
The New York Times frets about the rising salaries
in China and how it is feeding into inflation
in the US. It’s not really fretting when the data
justifies the fears. Anecdotal reports indicate
that finding and keeping young workers at all skill
levels is extremely difficult. Nothing new
Meanwhile, a video doing the rounds on the net
Where are all the workers gone? hits the nail on
The fretting here is about the lack of skilled workers in the US and the source of the fear is also China, with India coming in a close second. The companion to the first video is called Where are all the skilled workers gone?
The focus of the two videos is on how the US is losing the race for skills but the logic of the videos is all based on the raw number of technical graduates that any given country produces. I am not as confident that this is the best measure. I would look to a measure of graduate capability, rather than a simple count of graduates. China produces millions of technical graduates but we have yet to see a single Bill Gates here.
Meanwhile, on a similar note, McKinsey says that if China’s economy is to go on growing and its base is to evolve from manufacturing to services, it will require a huge number of qualified university graduates. As previously reported by McKinsey, and recently confirmed by new MGI research, only a small proportion of them have the skills required for jobs further up the value chain. The resulting demand for these skills has created a feeding frenzy in the recruitment market as everyone tries desperately to find the people who have that little added extra.
Consulting firms are also having difficulty finding the right people, according to Kennedy Information. “Investment per professional in China is much higher than that globally”, estimates Gordon Xu, China Strategy & Change Leader, IBM Global Business Services. “It goes from consulting fundamentals, to client skills, to technical skills. And service line leaders spend more time training and mentoring individuals here.”
Even that venerable British institution, The Economist, weighs in on the talent issue with a Worry-List that has staff related problems as worry number 1, 3 & 5.