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Worldwide Skilled Worker Shortage Driving Wage Inflation

October 25, 2006
Workforce shortages are driving up wages for trained talent in the U.S. and abroad, according to a report released Tuesday, October 24, by recruiting firm Manpower Professional.

Twenty-five percent of employers surveyed say they are paying higher salaries for qualified professionals this year. Manpower conducted the survey, which encompassed nearly 32,000 companies across 26 countries and territories, in July and August.

"The talent shortage is here and wage inflation is increasing in the specialized skill sets and industry sectors where talent is already scarce," says Jeffrey A. Joerres, Manpower’s chairman and CEO.

Survey participants in the Asia-Pacific region are feeling the brunt of wage increases, according to the report. About 55 percent of respondents in Singapore, 40 percent in New Zealand and 38 percent in Australia are experiencing wage inflation.

The U.S. has not been left unscathed. About 40 percent of the companies participating in the survey reported plans to offer increased compensation.

Shortages of qualified professionals are fueling the wage increases. Some 45 percent of participants in the survey reported difficulties in finding educated talent, particularly in the fields of IT, nursing, engineering and accounting.

Talent shortages were most pronounced in the Americas and the Asia-Pacific region. More than 40 percent of survey participants from Peru, Japan, Mexico and the U.S. report experiencing shortages in professional talent.

There is a double-whammy effect produced by the workforce scarcity: Operational costs go up while corporate expansion gets stuck in neutral. Overall, almost 30 percent of the respondents say they would have hired more workers during the past six months had there been qualified talent to draw from.

This dynamic was even more pronounced in the U.S., where nearly half of the participants say they would have hired more permanent and professional staffers had the right candidates come along.

--Gina Ruiz