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Is Asia in for a job shortage?

Asian economies are facing the challenge of finding jobs for an extra 200 million workers between now and 2015, according to a new report released by International Labour Organisation (ILO).

Visions for Asia's Decent Work Decade: Sustainable Growth and Jobs to 2015", has been presented to an ILO Asian Employment Forum in Beijing held in October, 2007. The region will have its work cut out to improve the quality of jobs on offer and ensure the benefits of Asia's future economic growth are distributed more evenly as the labour force, currently 1.8 billion, increases. ILO Director-General Juan Somavia has warned: “One thing is clear: doing business as usual is not sustainable over the long term.

Asia is experiencing unprecedented growth and development. At the same time, vulnerabilities arising from environmental pressures, economic insecurity, shortcomings in governance and unequal income distribution pose a threat to the region's future development.” According to the report, the main source of new jobs will be the service
economy, which, by 2015, will have A become the biggest single sector employer, representing about 40.7 percent of the region’s jobs. The share of industrial jobs is forecast to rise from 23.1 percent of the total jobs market in 2006 to 29.4 percent in 2015.

By contrast, agricultural jobs would by 2015 have declined to 29.4 percent of the market from 42.6 percent, said the report.

Be warned: Leadership crisis ahead

Companies worldwide face a looming leadership crisis due to the retirement of baby boomers and rapid growth in Asia with half fearful they cannot develop the skills they need, according to a recent survey by IBM's consulting firm which interviewed 400 human resources executives from 40 countries and suggests companies are putting growth strategies at risk if they cannot identify and develop the next generation of leaders. The study found 88 percent of companies in the Asia Pacific region are most concerned with their ability to develop future leaders, followed by Latin America (74 percent); Europe, Middle East and Africa, (74 percent); Japan (73 percent); and North America (69 percent).

Companies are really crunched both in terms of their current capacity of leadership and also their ability to develop leaders in the future. Three-quarters of the people who responded said this was a significant workplace issue.

Fifty-two percent of human resources executives say their organisations may be unable to rapidly develop skills to meet current or future business needs. The study also found 36 percent of firms said employee skills fail to meet company priorities.

With competition for talent on the horizon, younger job applicants might want to list online gaming skills on their resumes, Lesser said. Many can be translated to realities of the new workplace.


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