Lack of skilled workers hits business expansion plans

New Delhi, March 22 | Updated: Mar 23 2005, 05:49am hrs
Business owners worldwide are in a fix theres no dearth of people wanting to work, but shortage of skills is hampering business expansion.

As a result, they are focusing more on attracting and retaining staff, according to latest research from Grant Thorntons 2005 International Business Owners Survey.

While 28% of the 6,000 business owners surveyed said availability of skilled workforce was proving to be a major constraint, in terms of their being more focused on retaining and attracting staff, the highest results came from the Philippines, where 92% said they were more focused, India (80%), Mexico (75%) and South Africa (71%).

The lack of availability of a skilled workforce reflects strengthening demand and a tightening labour market in many countries, consistent with the upward phase of the economic cycle, said Andrew Godfrey, head of Grant Thorntons international and European services, in a release.

The countries where skill shortage was felt most acutely were New Zealand (50%), Russia (45%) and Australia (44%).

It is not surprising in this climate, there is renewed vigour in attracting and retaining staff. In India and South Africa, where there is a healthy economic environment, this need is particularly acute, said Mr Godfrey.

The good news is that India (+55) and Australia (+50) top the list of 24 countries where a rise in workforce was seen.

In fact, worldwide, the survey found the employment trend encouraging, except for the Netherlands (-12), Mexico (-3) and Sweden (-2), where business owners said they had seen a decrease in workforce. The survey asked over 6,000 business owners in 24 countries whether they had increased or decreased their workforce in the past year.

In the region-wise picture, Nafta led the way with a balance of +37, followed by East Asia (+17). However, countries in the European Union were found trailing with a balance of +6.

The survey also asked business owners about factors they thought were important in attracting and retaining staff.

A good corporate reputation tops the list with 84% saying it was an important factor, followed by an understanding of core values, mission and goals (77%) and training (69%).